Sanders Raring To ‘Gro’ The Killie Coffee Club As New Teammates Are Welcomed

Jack Sanders hopes to ‘Gro’ Killie’s coffee club to help his new teammates blend into the squad, after acknowledging that the tightness of last season’s group made him feel “at home”.

The Bolton-born defender extended his stay at Rugby Park by signing a new one-year deal earlier this month, and now feels a responsibility to ensure that the latest arrivals settle into their new surroundings.

Pinpointing one of the group’s most popular team activities, Jack said: “Coffee club is honestly as simple as it sounds! Joe Wright, Brad Lyons, Innes Cameron and I are the regulars. We’ll spend a couple of hours chatting, drinking coffee and sometimes treat ourselves to a cake. The Park Hotel, The Espresso Kart and GRO in Irvine are our go-to places, and I’m sure the new lads will start to join us: the more the merrier.

“Outside of training, it’s important to rest and recover, but you also need to socialise to avoid falling into a routine of sitting in your separate apartments. Building that strong bond is massively important. Last year, the squad was very tight, and there’s a good core of the group left so I’m sure that will be the case again this season. You can tell that the gaffer has brought in good lads, so I know they’ll fit in really well.”

The 24-year-old admits that it’s a bold move for any young player to leave their roots and move up North. For Jack, it’s a move he reflects on positively having settled into his new ‘home away from home’.

“I do see Kilmarnock as my home now, in a strange way. Of course, I go back down South to see my family, but I’m settled in Scotland: I’ve got my own apartment and really good people around me. I’m not too interested in moving back at the moment as I’m really happy up here.”

“I’ve made a lot of good friends, even outside of football. It’s always important to have a real connection with those in the community. People in the Kilmarnock area are really invested in their football, which is great for the club. That’s one of the main reasons why I enjoy being around the place so much.”

Now truly settled at the club, and with his short-term future secured through a new contract, Jack feels more determined than ever to consistently make an impact on the pitch.

“For myself, a one-year deal made sense. I’m 24 years old now so it’s time to really kick on in my career. I’m not looking too far into the future, I just want to make sure that I do well in pre-season and get my name on the teamsheet for the first game.

“Extending my stay here was an easy decision in the end, after having quite a few conversations with the gaffer over the break. Last season, I obviously didn’t play as much as I would have wanted, so I’m really motivated to make my mark and contribute more.

“There are positives to take from the last campaign and I’m sure that I’ll reflect on the loan at Cove as an important stage of my career. I think I did well in the 12 games that I played before being recalled. To be honest, it’s probably the best football I’ve played in a while. I was starting games consecutively and I’m hoping next season that’s what I can do here. I need to showcase to the fans exactly what I can offer because I don’t feel like they’ve fully witnessed it yet.”

“You’ve got to approach each season with a clean slate, and that’s the mindset I’ve adopted from the start. There’s new staff on board at the club and I know Alan (Archibald) works on the defensive side which will be good for me. I’m eager to develop my game and I think there’s loads for me to learn. Hopefully I can do that within the surrounding of this football club.”

“I’m really looking forward to Northern Ireland now. There are a lot of new boys, and quite a few that have obviously stayed, so it’s a good opportunity for the guys to integrate themselves into the group. I’m sure there will be a few activities planned, which will be really important. We went to Belfast in my first year, so I know how valuable it is to get a real understanding of your new teammates.

“I’m sure we’ll find somewhere to grab a few coffees while we are over there!”

Kilmarnock will travel to Belfast for a week-long training camp on Sunday, with warm-up games arranged against Glentoran and Linfield. Ticket information for both matches can be found – HERE.