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Crooks hopes for new start

27 February 2015

Matt Crooks is looking to nail down a regular place in the Stanley starting eleven and avoid being cursed with the tag of utility player.

The 21-year-old returned to the Store First Stadium earlier this week, signing an 18 month permanent contract following a loan spell from Huddersfield Town.

The Yorkshireman has a reputation for being versatile having played in defence and midfield for the Terriers and in a forward role in a spell at Hartlepool and at Stanley.

However, he's keen to get himself known for specialising in one position.

“I used say that I'd play anywhere because I just wanted to play but it can kill you in a way because instead of being good in one solid position you become more of a squad player who rotates in and out when you're needed to play,” he explained.

“I want to find a main position. I'm fine to play anywhere but it's in my mind to get a role. In pre-season at Huddersfield we played a 3-5-2 and I was playing in the middle of a back three so hopefully I can get a position like that but we'll have to see what happens.”

Crooks has predominantly been used as a striker since first being signed by manager John Coleman but is well aware that he didn't do himself justice in front of goal.

“When I came in last time I got a bit of stick off the lads and got some from my family and probably the fans as well. To be honest, I think I would've given myself stick,” he admitted. “I missed a fair few chances and important ones as well but you just have to get on with it. If the manager wants me to play there then I'll play there. It was interesting to be up there and I learnt a lot from it so it was a lesson for me and I've taken the positives from it.

“It hurt. The Yeovil one was the worst because I think that one was the easiest one as well. I know you probably won't believe me but I'm usually alright in front of goal! I think after the first three or four games you do start putting pressure on yourself, especially when you're playing up front and you're there to score goals.

“You tell yourself that you've got to score one now and it does play on your mind a little bit. What I have to do is get rid of all that and just focus on my game.”

Crooks came off the bench in the midweek win over Burton and is in the squad for tomorrow's trip to Luton but expects breaking into the starting eleven in the short term to be a tall order.

“The lads were fantastic the other night, particularly in the first half,” he said. “I thought everyone to a man played really well and I know that I'm going to have to wait for my chance to get into that side. When I get it, hopefully I can take it.”


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