Matt Lowe is one of Kevin Wilkin’s brightest young players.  Now in his fourth season at St James Park, Lowe scored Saints’ goal against Blyth Spartans on his 150th appearance in a red and white shirt.  Goals are perhaps the only thing missing from Lowe’s contribution to Kevin Wilkin’s side.  In a frank interview with The Red & White Lowe is the first to acknowledge this is a facet to his game he is working hard to improve.

“I am pleased to be playing a lot more this season,” he says.  “I got a bit frustrated at times in the past being in and out of the team.  But I understand there are times when you have to be patient and wait for your chance.  I feel I am making the most of my chance this season and I have played a lot of minutes and am enjoying myself.”

“I feel I have developed each year I have been here both as a player and a person but it is my finishing that is the main part of my game I need to improve,” he says candidly.  “I have scored 13 goals for the club but I am getting into more scoring positions now.  I set up quite a lot of goals for the team but I know I should be getting on the score-sheet more often.  We are expansive and create a lot of chances but converting them is the issue at the moment in the team.”

We turn to the big Wembley final of last season and the suggestion that in many people’s eyes Lowe put in a man of the match performance.  Lowe modestly skirts around this: “I went down late on cramping up,” he says.  “It was a bit embarrassing for a young player but I left it all out there on the pitch at the end of the day.  Looking back everything about the day was special – celebrating with the lads, my family was there, the fans, it was just an amazing day.  It is odd really because looking at the record I hardly started in the earlier rounds but I was in the line-up at Wembley which obviously I was delighted with.  The whole togetherness of the squad was special.  We were a small group but it was tight.  I will always remember the feeling after the semi-final at Wealdstone.  The coach journey back and the celebrations were amazing.  The singing, the dancing and a few things went on that I should not repeat so I won’t but it was special.”

“At the start of the season I think the Trophy win affected us a bit even though we tried not to let it and we struggled in those first few games to get started again.  It was hard to leave it behind because of the great memories.”

 “We are playing attractive football now but have not yet found the ruthlessness we had last season when we would sometimes not play so well but were still able to win games.  We are still in a good place with the quality in the squad and over time it will come together so we can achieve good things this season.”

“At the start of the season we had a couple of new players and it can take time for them to settle in.  But Connor Hall is confident on the ball, he likes to step out from the back, and I have to give him that, he’s scored more goals than me!  Luke Fairlamb is the fastest player I’ve seen.  The way he goes past players is incredible.  When he shifts the ball you cannot catch him and if he keeps on progressing he will go on to have a good career.  He has adapted and fitted in really well.  A bit like with me I suppose Luke is focusing on sharpening up his end product in terms of scoring goals but also showing composure to pick out the man and finish off the move.”

“In this respect working with Staffy and Noony and the gaffer on our finishing is brilliant.  They will tell you with me it’s not all plain-sailing.  They do tell me it straight sometimes and I can still have a bit of an immature sulk but they just want to improve us as players and I know they are really good for me on the training pitch.”

Lowe, 22, is in the second year of his degree course and enjoying it.  “I am enjoying being at university, it is going well, and I am happy here at the club. I feel fit and strong.  Some people call me a bit of a tin man because I take a few days to recover after a game but I work hard at the gym and off the pitch to look after myself.  Perhaps in a few years if I can keep improving I might be able to play at an even higher level.  I know I need to improve the mental side to my game and I believe in myself so if it all clicks it might happen for me.”

“Success this season is being right up there in the league in April.  There are no big teams this year like there was Fylde and Salford in other seasons, the big hitters.  There are lots of good teams but we have just as good a chance.  It’s all to play for.  And if we could also get anywhere close to what we did in the Trophy last season that would make it a really successful campaign.”