Lewis McPartlan (Goalkeeper, on Loan from AFC Fylde Academy)

What are you doing to keep yourself busy?

Homework, Fylde have basically given me a sheet to do. I am currently doing leg exercises because I have got one leg smaller than the other, I have just found out. And playing video games really, that’s all I’ve been doing. Playing COD and Fifa.

How did you feel when the season ended so quickly?

Gutted really, the team were on a high and I was on a high. We wanted to keep the momentum going after the win against AFC Blackpool, we thought we could get some serious points here and then when the league voided it was upsetting for everyone, even the fans. It’s hard to take and hopefully next season it will be a different story.

It’s been your first season with us, how have you found it?

Brilliant, honestly, the best thing I’ve ever done is come to you guys. Even with my previous team, Darwen’s just stepped me another level, again thanks to Fylde for letting me do it. Thanks to Kenny and Neil for taking me on-board it’s massive. Personally certain people told me that I would never get game time because of my age in that league. It’s been a massive plus for me and I feel I have got better over time, so I am very thankful.

You are with Fylde Academy and came here in October to get Experience, is it what you were expecting?

No, to be honest no. I don’t know what I was expecting going into men’s football, I had done it previously with Pennington but that was nothing compared with what I do with Darwen. The boys are brilliant, they made me so welcome and I felt at home straight away. It does take a lot for a player to feel like that. Obviously the first game was on that Saturday, I trained on the Wednesday and a lot of players would have been “I don’t want to do it’. After that first training session I felt so on form I was excited to play. Then following on from there I have to thank the boys for that as well as Kenny and Neil for taking me in.

What’s been your highlight since coming to the club?

To be honest with you, every game was a highlight I enjoyed it that much, I can’t really pick an individual game or moment where I have gone this is the best day because everything has been brilliant. Even when losing, drawing, winning and probably the highlight were playing for you lot. Just getting that experience was all I ever wanted and I got it.

What about the worst part?

None….. Oh 5-1 loss in my second game actually. I was getting used to everything, my surroundings and then losing 5-1 was a bit of a bummer but we bounced back from that. I feel that loss was a stepping stone for the wins we got later on in the season.

You have so much talent and you are so young, how far do you want to go in this game?

I want to go as far as I can really, there is no limit where I think I could get to, you know I could get anywhere in life but I need to keep working hard, keep doing what I’m doing now, I can’t see myself not doing well. I want to get to the highest league possible and play where I feel comfortable. Once that happens, I can then push on to even bigger leagues or stay where I am.

It must be different playing for a Semi Pro Club to being at an Academy?

Miles different as I am with the u18s. I get there, get my kit on and do a 30 minute warm up and that’s me done and I then go into the game but with you lot it is more, you get there early and you chat as a team and we warm up, with Darwen I get goalkeeper warm up whereas I would normally have an outfield player.

In the game we get on average 150 fans where at Fylde we would get 20 parents. So that’s a huge difference. AFC Blackpool was a different story (304 Attendance), which was amazing, I got home and I was buzzing with the chanting. I was getting some stick but I liked it. It is totally different and I can’t fault Fylde for letting me do it.

Why did you choose to come to AFC Darwen?

I was at Pennington FC before and one of my friends dads said that Darwen were looking for a keeper and my agent Ben said I would take you. I went to St Helens just before and I was not happy. I arrived 5 minutes late, which is not good but they told me to go in there and do 5 A side. No introduction like Darwen did. When I came to Darwen, Ben took me down and told me to go and enjoy it. Neil introduced me to everyone so I knew everyone’s names. Luckily I knew Jack Prince so I had a mate to talk to and it makes you feel more at home. When you said we want you to sign it was a no brainer. You look at the facilities, look at everything you’ve got which is why I chose Darwen.

I know that football is in the family, how do you all help each other to keep pushing each other to be better?

We do workouts together, my little brothers is at Bolton Wanderers so he needs to do a lot and he’s in his last year to get a scholarship so we are in the back garden doing Goalkeeper work. We have just bought a net so we need to make sure we are still sharp because we don’t know what is going to happen now this virus has happened. We have turned the conservatory into a Gym to keep going. We are there to help each other out and keep ourselves level headed. And not to get too cocky, which I keep on telling my younger brother. He needs to stay grounded as he his probably the best keeper I have seen at his age, I know he is my brother but he is.

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