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Greg Eager To Get Going Again

15 June 2016

PNE defender Greg Cunningham is looking forward to the squad's return for pre-season at the end of the month.

Although the 25-year-old has been enjoying his summer break, he admits he is now ready to get back to work in preparation for the new season.

"It's been a great summer, I've been on a few holidays and I've been back in Ireland seeing all of the family and chilling out so it's been great.

"I've had a nice time recovering from the season and I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things now at the end of the month when we meet up for pre-season.

"We have a nice break over the summer so when it gets to the last few weeks you are kicking on with your off-season programme and you want to get back and getting back into the season again.

"It's that eagerness to get the season underway and continue that momentum from last season into this season.

Cunningham missed North End's final two games of the 2015/16 campaign through injury, but is back fully fit ahead of pre-season, and is hoping to build on a successful season last term.

"I am back fit, the last game of the season came a bit too early for me, but I'm feeling good again, my body is feeling good and nice and recovered. I've been working on my off-season programme and so I will hopefully go back with a good level of fitness ready to really push on fitness wise ready for the start of the season.

"Last year was a great season for me, I've put the marker down after my first season here and so I want to continue that and more going into this season. I will set new goals again for this season and I just want to carry my performances forward and push on.

The Championship is looking strong for the new campaign, and Cunningham is relishing the challenge of competing in the division once again.

"It's going to be even more competitive for the new season, that's the way the Championship is going. Year after year, it's getting stronger and a lot more competitive, the teams coming up and the teams who have come down from the Prermier League. Then you look at the teams that may have underperformed last year, it's going to be very competitive so we need to make sure we are at it from matchday one until the last game of the season.

"It's going from strength to strength every year, you can see that from the managers that are willing to take that drop to manage in the Championship and the players that are coming into the league as well. It's great for the league, for the fans and it's something that we are really looking forward to once again.

North End's fixtures for the 2016/17 season will be released at 9am on Wednesday 22nd June, and there's one game in particular that the left back is looking forward to.

"It would be great to play at St James' Park, it's such a fantastic stadium and a big club so that would be one that would be great to go and get a win there.

"I am looking forward to the first home game of the season to really kick it off, and it would be nice to have a home game first like we did last year but we will see. I just can't wait for the season to start now.

During his time away from Springfields, the Carnmore-born defender has been keeping a close eye on the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 campaign in France, and has been impressed by what he has seen so far.

"I've been keeping a close eye on the Euros, I watched the game against Sweden and I thought we deserved to get the win. The positive side of it was that we didn't lose the game, so we will see how we get on against Italy and Belgium, but there's really encouraging signs from that first game.

"There's no-one to fear going into the European Championships because you never know what can happen in these tournaments.

"We have probably got one of the toughest groups in the Championships but I thought we played very well against Sweden and probably should have won the game. We can take a lot of positives from it and really have a go against Belgium and Italy and see where it takes us.

"I think they can get more than enough to qualify for the knock-out stages, I don't see why not. Belgium had a bit of a set back against Italy, though I'm sure they will bounce back in the next game. It was never going to be easy but I don't see why we can't go and get good results in the next two games and see where it takes us.

"It was a very positive performance and we showed great intent to go and win the gamee against Sweden. Even when they equalised, the substitutions that were made were very positive and it was good to see.

Speaking of their involvement in the tourament, the Irishman continued: "It's massive for us to be in a tournament like this, it's great to see the likes of Northern Ireland, England and Wales involved as well, so I will be keeping an eye on all of the home nations and ourselves throughout the tournament.

"It's great for the country, the country comes to a standstill for 90 minutes to watch the game together and it's great to be involved in a major tournament.

"I will be watching the next game in Spain as I'm away but I will be home for the final group game, and so I will probably head in to town to watch it and soak up the atmosphere in town which will be great."

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