Hibs: Chris Cadden glad to have normality back as defender speaks on Lee Johnson, new signings, and pre-season
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Three matches a week for a month? Definitely. Premier Sports Cup group games instead of pre-season friendlies? You bet – especially if it means a shorter pre-season.
Previewing the clash with the Bully Wee, Chris Cadden admitted that the players, including several new signings, were desperate to get back out in front of the fans.
"I think the boys are all just buzzing. You want to come in, play games, play in front of crowds. Pre-season games are good for fitness and what-not but you want games and you want to fight for three points and get into competitive games as soon as possible,” he says.
“It has been big to have this pre-season and we’ve used the transfer window really well so far.
"The week in Portugal was beneficial for everybody, especially with the new players coming in and trying to get used to the boys. That week away helps everyone get to know everyone else really well.
"There are no cliques here and everyone sits in different places and gets to know different people so the pre-season we’ve had, although it has been short, it’s been beneficial.”
Cadden has just had his first proper pre-season with Hibs, despite joining in January 2021. Injury kept him out of last season’s preparations but he featured in both pre-season friendlies and looks set to start against Danny Lennon’s team.
“You forget what normality is like nowadays. I haven’t really had a proper pre-season at Hibs because I came in midway through one season and then I had an injury at the start of the next season,” he explains.
"So, it has been good for myself to have a normal summer, get the holidays in, and then start to build up for pre-season and that has been good. It’s been enjoyable.
"Everything is back to normal, fans are back at every game – I scored my first goal in front of 500 fans and was gutted. So, 100 per cent, it is exciting to have a normal season. I'm looking forward to it.”
The 25-year-old’s performances throughout last season were one highlight in a season that was, overall, disappointing for the club.
"I had a decent season last season but I always base my season on where the team finishes,” he continues.
“That is always my main goal, for Hibs to have success. Personally, I was happy with my performances but I want to kick on as much as possible. This is my first full season at Hibs after injury troubles towards the start of my time here.
"Now I want to help Hibs to finish as high as possible in the league and compete for trophies.”
Cadden is likely to face competition from new arrival Lewis Miller but is relishing the challenge, and has enjoyed working under Johnson so far.
"The new manager is pretty clear about what he wants to do – front-foot, forward play, forward running and it has been great. What he’s been talking about seems to really suit me. We’ve only had a couple of pre-season games but it suits my attributes and it is enjoyable,” Cadden states.
"I played at right-back; that’s probably where I see myself and where i think the gaffer sees me playing, which is great.
"You’ve got to have competition at a club like Hibs. You need to be playing well to be in the team and that's the way it should be.
"Your place isn't guaranteed if you aren’t delivering on the pitch. At big clubs, that's what happens. So, it is down to me and it is the same for all the boys.
When there is competition then you have to be performing well to get on the pitch."
In Clyde, Hibs face a team from two divisions beneath them, but cup games can always throw up a shock or two.
"It’s still pretty early. We have had the pre-season but it’s not been very long,” Cadden agrees.
"We are still learning the way the manager wants us to be playing, we have the new boys settling, so we are still in the building process but if you want to go far in the Premier Sports Cup then you need to go and win these sort of games.
"We know we are expected to win but that’s what comes with playing for a club like Hibs. This will also be the gaffer’s first competitive game so we have to start off with a win. That's what we are all looking to do.”
Johnson echoes his defender’s thoughts.
“I just want to win every game. We want to be consistent,” he says.
“Sometimes you can rotate the squad in certain games a little bit more. We’ve done a lot of studying into how much the top clubs rotate to keep them fresh but also, on your perception of the standard of the opposition, how many you can afford to rotate.
“That comes into play in these types of games but, at the end of the day, we’ve got an objective and that is to make sure that we win the group stage and go through to the next round.”