JA­COB’S CRACKED IT!

The Football League Paper - - TFLP - By Matt Bad­cock

WHILE most play­ers were en­joy­ing their sum­mer hol­i­days, Bury’s Ja­cob Mel­lis de­cided to skip the beach in favour of hit­ting the train­ing ground. For­get nights out in Marbs, Mel­lis was burn­ing the carbs, with the 26-yearold de­ter­mined to make sure he was in the best nick for a gru­elling sea­son in League One. It has paid off, with the for­mer Chelsea and Eng­land Unde-19 mid­fielder avoid­ing the in­juries that dis­rupted him last sea­son. Mel­lis, who is out of con­tract this sum­mer, has adopted a more fo­cused ap­proach to his foot­ball and he’s show­ing the qual­ity that saw him start his ca­reer at Chelsea and play in the Cham­pi­onship with Barns­ley.

“At the end of last sea­son I had de­ci­sions to make about cer­tain things in my life,” Mel­lis told The FLP.

Fo­cused

“In the sum­mer I didn’t go on hol­i­day. I just stayed at the train­ing ground with the physio, did a lot of run­ning and got my­self ready for pre-sea­son.

“I didn’t play too many games last year, so I wanted to be right and as fit as pos­si­ble.

“I’ve pretty much played ev­ery game, apart from the ones I’ve been sus­pended.

“I just wanted to be more fo­cused. When I’m fo­cused, I feel like I play well. No-one can switch it on and off.

“I feel like I’ve done that and I feel bet­ter for it.

“I knew I had to. No-one was go­ing to do it for me – hope­fully peo­ple can see that.

“I feel like any­one who knows me, even from two or three years to now, will see I’ve changed a lot.

“It’s gen­er­ally about mak­ing bet­ter de­ci­sions and grow­ing up.”

Last Tues­day’s 5-1 de­feat to Ox­ford United halted a run of five clean sheets in a row for the Shak­ers and was only their sec­ond de­feat in ten games.

That run has helped boss Lee Clark, who left Kil­marnock in Fe­bru­ary to re­place Chris Brass, steer the club away from the drop zone.

Mel­lis says the for­mer Hud­der­s­field and Birm­ing­ham City chief has in­jected fresh be­lief in the dress­ing room.

De­served

“He’s given the play­ers a lot of con­fi­dence,” said Mel­lis. “Apart from against Ox­ford, we’ve been look­ing more solid.

“Train­ing has been high tempo, we’re play­ing that way, too, and it’s been good.

“We’ve got a lot of good play­ers. We’ve got to put it all to­gether and pick up some more wins.”

Then it might be time for a well-de­served hol­i­day.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

HIT­TING THE HEIGHTS: Ja­cob Mel­lis

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