Youl Mawene is ready to hit the ground running in his new role as a fitness coach after injury brought his playing career to an end.
The 33-year-old centre-half was forced to retire after a first season at Fleetwood Town marred by a broken foot and a serious knee problem.
But his involvement with the game and the club is far from over – the Frenchman has been handed a place of the backroom staff at Highbury by manager Graham Alexander.
“I’m very excited,” said Mawene. “I’m really grateful for the chance and I’m going to grab the opportunity with both hands.
“I’ve had 17 years as a player, 17 years of pre-season and now it’s time to move on to the next chapter.”
Mawene has already been working with Andy Hogden and the other fitness staff at Fleetwood, making his transition easier.
“Since I’ve known it would be hard to get back to fitness, I’ve been doing bits and bobs.
“I’ve been taking the Saturday sessions for the boys who haven’t travelled and weren’t part of the matchday squad.
“I’ve been working with Andy and I’ve been really happy.”
And Mawene, who has a keen interest in sports science, is looking to bring his own ideas to the club.
He added: “I’m going to be busy this summer.
“I’m already writing a few fitness plans.
“I want to take it beyond the training – to look at nutrition, at overall health and lifestyle.
“I want to bring things to the club.”
With Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander looking to trim the numbers in his squad, the work of Town’s fitness team will be more important than ever next season.
“We have to look at how we can improve things for the manager.
“We want to make sure we have as many players available for him as possible – that’s what it is all about.
“We need to have the team in the best possible shape.”
Mawene joked he already had one man in mind.
“I’ve told Jon (Parkin) he’s going to be my special project,” chuckled Mawene.
“He’s a player I know well and at this level he’s the sort who is capable of getting a hat-trick in every game he plays.
“I believe he’s going to be one of the most important players next season.”
Despite only having been at Highbury for one season, Mawene has taken Fleetwood to his heart and is delighted to have been given the chance to stay on.
He said: “I’ve very grateful to the club and to Micky Mellon for bringing me here, for believing in me.
“I’ve been feeling great here. It’s a club which is going places and I’m now looking to repay the faith which has been shown in me.
“The manager and Chris Lucketti are people I know very well. They are great guys, very professional and it’s good to work with them.”