Holden looking forward to new campaign...DEAN Holden is delighted to have the opportunity to prolong his playing career whilst also get a foot on the coaching ladder after accepting a new deal at Banks’s Stadium.
The popular central defender has signed a one-year deal as a player and Pro Development Coach, which will see him working closely with our young professionals in the 18 to 21 age group.
“This is an unbelievable opportunity for me,” said the 33 year-old. “Getting into the coaching side of the game is something that I have been speaking to the Gaffer about for a few months now.
“He had the same thoughts as me in the latter stages of his playing career and was presented with a similar opportunity at the same age, so he’s been mentoring and guiding me.
“I must say that the Gaffer has been fantastic right from day one and to have the experience and knowledge of Richard O’Kelly back at the club is a massive bonus.
“Between them they have created a tremendous environment in which to work and learn.”
Whilst Holden is relishing his new responsibilities, he will be fully-focussed on making an impact on-the-field as well as off it.
“The emphasis will be on the playing side of things,” he added. “It will be about staying as fit as I can and challenging for a place in the team.
“I know it will be a tough battle because we have some good players in my position, but I am determined to play a role on the pitch.
“I want to be able to prolong my playing career and this is the ideal place for me to do it. I’ve loved every minute of my time here and can’t wait for it to continue.”
Having spent time working with Academy Manager, Neil Woods, and Head of Academy Coaching, Graham Biggs, towards the end of last term, Holden headed to Scotland recently to study for his ‘A’ Licence.
“I’m really grateful for the help and support I have received from Neil and Graham,” he went on. “It’s really interesting to see what goes on and the amount of work and planning that is required. As a player, this is something that you don’t fully appreciate.
“I then headed up to Largs in north-west Scotland for an intense but thoroughly enjoyable nine days studying for my ‘A’ Licence.
“There were 34 of us working from 9.00am until 6.00pm, so they were long days, but we covered so much in that time, such as putting different sessions on, the psychology side of the game and match analysis, things like that. It was really interesting.
“The facilities were unreal and it was such a fantastic setting. You couldn’t fail to pick things up from it and it’s something to add to my CV and knowledge base.
“I’m fascinated by this side of the game. I want to be able to pass on my knowledge and experiences and help those lads who are looking to make their way in the game.
“I feel that I have a lot to give both as a player and as a coach.”
With the fixtures for the new season released on June 19th, Holden is already looking forward to what 2013/14 holds in store.
“It’s going to be a really strong League,” he said without hesitation. “There are some big teams at this level and it will be extremely competitive, but we are looking forward to the challenge and carrying on from where we left off last season.
“As I say, the environment that has been created at the training ground will certainly help us continue to progress. If we can keep our key players and add to them with a few new faces, we have every reason to go into the new season with confidence.”