LUKE Hendrie insists it does not necessarily “mean more” to play for boyhood club City, but he admitted that that special connection makes signing a new two-year deal extra sweet.

Hendrie was in the club’s academy and spent time on loan here in 2017/18, but this will be his first long-term spell with the first team.

He said: “I wouldn’t say it means more to play for City compared to other clubs, because I’ve always given my all when I’ve played elsewhere too.

“But there are more factors, like being around friends and family again, and having that connection with my dad (John) playing for the club.

“It’s great to represent the club where I’m from and I know what it (City) means to people and those I’m connected to.”

Asked if it pushed him, knowing he only had a handful of games to prove he was worthy of a new deal, having only joined in January, Hendrie said: “I was going in with that mentality every day, even in training.

“I was only here for two weeks before Derek Adams left, but regardless of who the manager was, that wasn’t going to change my focus.

“I played every game but one under Mark Hughes, which boded well, and I treated each match on its own merit.

“Training was important, because I’m a big believer that if you train well, you take that into a game.

“I just tried to impress and stick to my long-term plan of staying beyond the end of the season.”

He added: “When I moved back, my focus was on extending that contract beyond six months.

“A lot can happen in that time in football, but I was focused on staying.

“And when it came to the decision about signing the new deal, it was a pretty easy one to be honest.”

It helped that City were making regular new signings around the time of Hendrie penning a new deal.

Asked if he’d been impressed by City’s recruitment, he said: “Definitely.

“I know from when I’ve been at previous clubs, new players coming in gives you that excitement.

“You get to see fresh faces, and usually it’s players you’ve come up against before, so you know the qualities they’ll bring.

“You don’t know them as characters, but I’m sure the recruitment team and the manager will do after doing their research.

“We’ve largely brought young lads in that have lots of potential, which can only be good for the club.”

Speaking of youngsters, does 27-year-old Hendrie now see himself as a mentor, especially to someone like fellow right-back, teenager Finn Cousin-Dawson?

He mused: “When I was that age, I was keen to learn off senior players, being around them at training to see what I could bring to my game.

“It’s up to the younger players if they want to get advice from us, but I’m always there to help.

“With Finn, he plays in a similar position and we get on well, and we want those young lads to push us.

“I hope I can help him more now I’m here permanently, but he doesn’t just need advice off me, he can say things to help me with my own game too.”

Pre-season starts on Thursday for City, with Hendrie in high spirits after having just been on his honeymoon.

Asked if that personal milestone will benefit him heading into the new season, he said: “The wedding was actually last year, so it was a delayed honeymoon, and we’re a happy, settled couple.

“Being around family and friends helps, because I was away in the Midlands while playing for Shrewsbury and Grimsby, and I can try and take that into games.

“I would agree with what they say that being happy off the pitch can really help you on it.”