Many of you will have heard it last night, but Conor McGrandles came back to Sincil Bank, and he gave his first interview to us live on our deadline day special.
Conor is well known to City fans, having been a key player in our play-off finish in 2020/21. He was voted Player of the Year by you guys, and despite a challenging second season for the whole team, he was in high demand when he left.
He’s now back, and he started by saying how happy he was and how some of the squad remained the same.
“I’m buzzing to be here and looking forward to meeting some of the boys that I know and some of the new people.
“There’s still quite a few here, probably about six or seven. Then, a few of the young boys who were training at the time have broken their way into the first team, which is good.”
Transfer deadline day is always hectic, and whilst we’ve had an eye on Conor for much of the window, circumstances at Charlton have made a move difficult until now.
“It’s been a bit hectic. It’s difficult with the situation at Charlton, not having the manager, so we’ve had to kind of sort all of that out at their end.
“Once we got the green light, just got in the car, drove up, and tried to get everything done as quickly as we could. Luckily, we didn’t have to leave it too late, and we didn’t have to bite our fingernails. I’ve had a few hours to relax now that it’s all been done.”
Conor has stepped out on the turf as an opponent, but not in the red shirt of Charlton. He featured for Cambridge United on loan last season in arguably the worst game I’ve seen at the Bank that we didn’t lose. He went on to explin what that experience was like.
“It is difficult, playing against players that I know that’s difficult. It was fun. I enjoyed that. It’s not many times I’ve gone to an old club, and so it was, it was a good experience.
“I was used to being on the other side and getting like the backing, pushing you on. It was a different experience, but I enjoyed it.”
Finally, the question I’m sure many people wanted to ask. When he left, it was widely suggested he was going back to Scotland. London is further away than Scotland, but Conor was happy to put the record straight.
“I don’t think people understand how difficult it was for me to actually make the decision to leave. Obviously, people are going to say that it’s easy to say that, but it was really difficult, and I definitely didn’t say what has been said.
“It was never like a 100 percent thing or like a 95 percent thing or anything that close. It was a decision that I was making to leave but not go to one specific location. That’s that’s definitely not true.”
The decision to come back to the Bank is one that has been made, and Conor explains what it is that has drawn him back to the red and white for a second spell.
“Knowing the place is obviously a big, a big draw, knowing a lot of the players is a big draw. I still speak to a few of the boys, and they spoke really highly of the manager.
“I just loved my time here before, so I, I don’t see why, if this opportunity came up, I would say no to it.”
We all know the Conor we had before – industrious, creative, and able to chip in with a goal or two. He was comfortable picking the ball up from the back four and moving forward, but how will that look now he’s back – is he the same player?
“I like to think I’m a bit more streetwise, a bit better in that sense. Obviously, I’ve played a few more games. I’ve got a bit more experience. I think that I’ll cut out some of the silly mistakes that I would have made now and then when I was playing before.
“Me being a few years older as well, with being such a young squad. Hopefully, I can help some of the younger players develop. A few of the boys my time here helped me, like Bridcutt and Grant, those kind of players. So hopefully I can take on a kind of role like that as well.”
There have been one or two who have pointed to his recent injury record as an issue, which was the final question of our interview. How did he feel in terms of fitness?
“Yeah, fit and ready. I trained for about two and a bit weeks, played the under-21s game a few weeks ago, and played 45 minutes in that. I’ve had no kind of side effects or ill effects from that. And I’ve been training fine for the last few weeks. So I’m ready to go.”
Of course, he wouldn’t have passed a medical if he wasn’t, but we did have to more or less make the questions up as we went along, which is not easy!
Welcome back Conor.