After a major overhaul in the summer following promotion to League One, Bury have made a decent start to their 2015/16 season.
Sitting in ninth place after winning eight of their opening 19 matches, which included a 10-game unbeaten run, some fans could well be starting to dream of back-to-back promotions.
But captain Nathan Cameron is keeping the club’s feet firmly on the ground, knowing there’s a long way to go and many tough matches to get through before the campaign comes to an end.
Just Like the ambitious Lancashire-based club, the 24-year-old centre-back has enjoyed a remarkable 18 months which has seen him go from squad player to promotion winning skipper.
Speaking to Shoot, the Shakers’ 2014/15 Player of the Year, who started all but one of every league match last term, speaks about Bury’s decent start, plus the club’s and his personal aspirations.
You’re currently in ninth place, how happy are you with where you’re at this stage of the season?
“Well we have to be happy. A lot of people thought we’d be about mid-table this time this season. We’ve played really well so far and have got some good results. Away from home we’ve done especially well. We’ve been to some tough places, like Sheffield United, and managed to win. We’re all happy as a group, but we want to do more, hopefully push into the top-two or sustain at least a play-off place. We’re coming up into an important period and hopefully we can pick up some points going into the New Year.”
With the likes of Leon Clarke and Tom Pope in attack, you’ve added a lot of goals to the squad. How impressed have you been with their impact?
“That’s what they’ve come with, that’s what they’ve been brought in to do, to score goals. Wherever they’ve been they’ve scored goals and we didn’t expect anything less when they signed for us. We’ve been very pleased with them, and they’ve worked hard to get goals between them. They cause a lot of defenders in this league problems, so they have done really well for us and long may it continue.”
Including Leon and Tom, the club have brought in 12 new players over the summer. Why do you think they have settled so quickly?
“Just because of the environment really. We have a fantastic training ground and staff who make everyone feel welcome. The players as well from last season are happy to invite the new lads in and the squad is growing and getting stronger which is what everyone wants. Sometimes you can go to a team and it’s difficult to settle in because players are playing for their places. We’ve got a very competitive squad here and everyone wants to do well whether they’re playing or not, so it’s been easier for the new players to settle in.”
You’ve conceded a lot more goals than many of the teams challenging for a top-six finish. For someone who’s the leader at the back, why do you think this?
“It’s a tough one. We’ve scored a lot of goals but then again we’ve conceded a lot of goals. As a team we need to get better, from the front all the way to the goalkeeper. Defensively we can improve, but like I said you defend as a team and you can’t just blame certain players. Hopefully we can stop letting in silly goals which I think there have been a few avoidable ones. It’s frustrating and it’s something we’ve got to work on if we are to challenge later on in the season.”
After the start you’ve made, do you feel promotion is a realistic target this season?
“Possibly, but we don’t want to think about that this early on. We just want to sustain our place in the league and try to put results together again. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve managed to get some decent results at home but on the road we need to pick up our form a bit. Whether promotion is realistic or not we’ll see nearer the time, but right now we’ve got to focus on what’s in front of us.”
So you were awarded the captaincy halfway through last season. How much of an honour is it to captain Bury?
“Massive! I know a lot of people might not think it’s a big club because of the area it’s in but I’m proud to play for this team. The gaffer’s (David Flitcroft) gave me the armband last season, and I tried to embrace it and take it in my stride by helping the team get promoted and now kick on in League One. It’s a pleasure to captain the side and it’s quite easy with the boys we’ve got, so hopefully I can keep doing that.”
What kind of extra responsibility has the captaincy brought with it?
“Not too much extra. In my game I’ve always tried to lead from the back and talk a lot on the pitch. I get on well with every single player in the squad, so there aren’t any extra responsibilities that I’ve had to take on that I didn’t have already. I know I’m not the oldest, most experienced player but I fell as though I’ve got a certain respect to and from all the players which makes my role quite easy.”
David Flitcroft has shown a lot of faith in you. What is your relationship like with him?
“He’s a very good manager and he’s proved that since he’s been at Bury by taking the team from the bottom of League Two, and couple of months from going out of the Football League, to promotion last season. His record speaks for itself, and we get along really well. He’s got some good players that he’s brought in too which shows people want to work for him.”
What was it like to start your professional career at Coventry City?
“It was really enjoyable. I came through the ranks and was there since I was nine years old. It was the first academy that I signed for and I came through all the way until I was 21. There’s some fantastic people that I met, staff and players, that I’m really close to now, so I’ve only got good words to say about the club. Their record of bringing players through speaks for itself, especially in recent years where they’ve managed to produced some quality and sell them on for good money. I’ve got nothing but good memories and they’re doing well again this season so hopefully they can stay up there with us.”
During your time there you played in the Championship. Do you feel you’d be successful as a player should Bury get promoted?
“Well I’ve played there before and I feel like I gained a lot of experience. I know it was a few years ago, but I feel as though I’ve improved since then and that I should be able to make the step back up. It’s the perfect time to do so as well as I’ve progressed ever since joining Bury. Everyone wants to play as high as possible and hopefully that’s the next step for me.”
You’re still only young but are you the type of player who sets long-term goals?
“I just want to be playing football in the highest league possible, which is hopefully the Premier League. Quite a lot of players tend to fall down, but I feel that I’ve gained a lot of experience from going down to come back up, seeing how hard it is to reach the top level and the work that you’ve got to put in. Quite a few don’t realise the work you’ve got to put in and that’s why some players haven’t been successful but hopefully I can reach the Premier League, and whenever that may be I’ll be ready for it.”
Messi or Ronaldo? Messi
House or Hip Hop? Hip Hop
Footballing Idol? Rio Ferdinand
Favourite Film? Lord of the Rings
Favourite sport outside football? Basketball