Eoghan O’Connell says he can’t wait for the new season to start and is “really, really optimistic and really positive” about the new campaign.
After putting pen to paper on a new one-year deal on Tuesday, the Dale Captain said: “I’m very happy to get the deal done. It has been ongoing for a while so I’m glad it’s all done now. I’m very happy to be back.
“I’ve had two years here and I’m happy and settled, as is my family. The relationship I have with the manager is well documented so it’s a huge thing for me to get the chance to play for him again.
“I’m delighted to have signed and I’m looking forward to getting going again.”
He continued: “I know last season didn’t work out the way we wanted it to. We want to put right what happened, and that’s a given for any of the lads that were here last season and are coming back for pre-season. I’ve been relegated before in my career and it eats away at you until you get the chance to get back in again and put it right, and we’re all itching to do that now.
“What ever happens, you have to look forward - you can’t keep looking back. It’s important for us to get into pre-season and do the best we can. It’s important for us to build on a good pre-season and take it from there.
“It’s going to be a tough season which we’ll have to be prepared for. We want to do well, so getting back in for pre-season, getting a good base and having a good start is what everyone will be looking to do.
“I’m always quite a positive person and optimistic, but not stupid either. I have played in this league before and I know how tough it is. We’ll have to be ready from the start to turn up every week and put in the performances required to get the points. I’m really, really optimistic and really positive. I'm looking forward to it.”
O’Connell, who has been at the club since the summer of 2019 and has made 81 appearances during his time at the Crown Oil Arena, skippered the side last season and he admits he enjoyed the responsibility.
“I’ve always been quite vocal but it’s obviously different when you’re then wearing the arm band. It’s all about helping lads - when you’re Captain, you’re always making sure that everything is right for everyone else.
“I really enjoyed it and it’s something I like doing. I was learning all the time last season with it being my first year of doing it and I’m looking forward to it again.”
Watch Eoghan's interview in full on our YouTube channel below.