Bradley Wood hails Grimsby Town's strong work ethic
BRADLEY Wood has certainly seen plenty of changes during his time at Grimsby Town.
After being promoted to the first team midway through the 2008/09 season, the former Youth team graduate has gone on to rack up more than a century of appearances, playing under three different permanent managers.
The 21-year-old is one of only three players to have played under previous boss Neil Woods and still remain with the Mariners, so there are few better placed to reflect on the changes at Blundell Park over recent years.
The Leicester lad believes that there has been a distinct shift in attitudes at the club, from simply 'stopping the rot' to now looking towards a bright future with confidence.
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"I've been here a few years now and the main thing that has changed has been the mentality around the club," he told The Telegraph.
"It sort of feels like a different club from when I first came through.
"It feels like everyone is here to get promoted whereas before it was trying to stop the rot and stay in the division. Now that has turned round and it's totally focused on getting back into the Football League.
"We're now going into every game knowing that we can win and knowing that we've got good enough players to know that, if we are having a bit of blip, someone will come up with something clever to win us the game.
"We know we're solid at the back so, even if it's only the odd goal, we're confident in keeping teams out."
He continued: "With the gaffers, you know you have to train 100 per cent – how you would play on a match day – and I think that's the best way.
"You sometimes get players not doing well in training but then they produce it on a Saturday. But with these gaffers, you know that you have to train at your best every day so that you can produce it on a match day – that's how we're getting results and it shows in where we are in the league."
Wood has made 16 league appearances so far this season, with a further outing in the FA Trophy First Round replay at Buxton at the end of last month.
But, after having what he acknowledges was a 'bad game' in the 3-2 league defeat to Hyde, Wood lost out to Sam Hatton for last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Ebbsfleet.
He admits that he faces a battle with the former AFC Wimbledon man for the starting berth in the Mariners side, but says that competition in the squad can be no bad thing.
He said: "I've played most of the games so far but I know that, when I'm in the team, it's not going to be easy for me to keep my place because Sam's a good player – I know that if I have a bad game, like I did against Hyde, that I'm not going to be playing for a while.
"I'm not in the team at the minute, but Sam knows that I'm champing at the bit to get back in so it's going to be a good little battle, and whoever the managers put in, they know they can trust us to do a job and give 100 per cent.
"It's good to have that competition. While I wouldn't say that last season was easy for me, I knew that I was going to be playing most of the games, whereas this year, I know there is a decent player next to me ready to take my place.
"I obviously travelled down to Ebbsfleet and was on the bench for the game, it was disappointing but I know that I have to get my head down and work hard on the training pitch to get back in the first-team picture – hopefully I can play some part tomorrow.
"I think Tamworth will try and get a smash and grab against us tomorrow, but we've just got to keep calm and I think we can take three points."
Wood says a win over the Lambs tomorrow would set the Mariners up well as they prepare for the busy Festive period.
He believes that if they can come through that run of games still in the mix, they will be well-placed to make a Football League return that he has been striving for since being part of the side that fell through the trap door in 2010.
He said: "I got relegated with this club and I'm not pleased that that happened.
"I won't feel like my job will be done if I didn't play a part in getting the club back to where it belongs.
"As a player, I wouldn't be able to say that I had achieved anything with Grimsby Town unless I helped it get back into the Football League – hopefully we can do that this year.
"If we can get through Christmas well and still be around the top going into the New Year, I think we will give ourselves a really good chance."