Defender Ryan Astley is now a regular in the heart of the Accrington Stanley defence – and says he is learning all the time.
The Everton loanee didn’t begin the season in the starting XI but came on against Shrewsbury and has played the next six games, scoring a goal and unfortunately an own goal.
The 20-year-old knows all the experiences are a learning curve in his career and is enjoying the games coming thick and fast, starting with Forest Green Rovers tonight.
The Reds have won one, lost one and drawn four of their six games so far and are in 18th place in the league.
“It’s good to get some men’s football week in week out. As a team we have done ok although we could have done a bit better,” said Astley.
“We have drawn a few where we believe we could have won but overall it’s been an ok start, which is a positive.
“I am learning all the time. I am learning about different strikers, balls in behind, long balls. I am learning about positioning, winning my headers, tackles, blocking shots.
“I am learning the dark arts of football which I am enjoying! I am thriving and loving it.
“The games are Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday at the moment and it is difficult on your body, I am not used to it.
“At the start, I was feeling stiff after games but I have been doing more recovery, eating proper food and my body feels good after games and I am ready to go again.
“I did come here thinking I was fit but as you keep playing games your fitness comes to where it should be.”
The Reds haven’t scored in their last two league games but Astley isn’t worried.
“We have conceded more than I would like so far. Football is all about concentration levels and we need to concentrate for the full 95 minutes. We lacked that on Saturday but we can learn from it.
“We do have attackers who can score, it is a dry spell at the moment, but it will come.”
The full pre-match interview video with Ryan Astley is available to watch on the club's official YouTube channel, CLICK HERE to find out more!