By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Mike Williamson is refusing to rest on his laurels after becoming arguably the biggest success story of Newcastle United's 2013/14 campaign.
The experienced centre-back is enjoying the final days of his summer break ahead of the Magpies' pre-season schedule, which kicks-off with physical testing at the end of next week.
However, 12 months ago it looked like Williamson's days at St. James' Park were numbered.
Unable to command a place in the side, that all changed when the 30-year-old was introduced as a half-time substitute at Everton on the final day of September, noticably shoring up a rearguard which had already shipped three goals.
Following that display, Williamson was a Barclays Premier League ever-present, becoming a vital cog in Newcastle's tenth-place finish and a fans' favourite in the process.
But the former Watford man is long enough in the tooth to know that the hard work is only just beginning, and Williamson insists he will do everything he can to impress all over again.
"You've always got to build on what you've done," Williamson told nufc.co.uk.
"If you rest on your achievements then you are only going to go downhill. I want to come back fitter, stronger and try to improve on my personal performances.
"Any professional will tell you that it's hard when you're not playing. It's difficult to take.
"We've got quality in the squad here but I always knew that if I bided my time I would get an opportunity, which I did.
"It was up to me to take it and once I got it I managed to stick around for a while.
"Last season was bittersweet. Personally, it was fantastic and picking up a couple of Player of the Year awards was more than I could have ever dreamed of when I was sitting on the bench at the start of that game at Goodison.
"But you never know what's around the corner in football, and that's why you've got to keep digging in, stay positive and believe in what you can do."
As well as his own performances, Williamson is also backing United to keep pushing up the top flight table following some impressive - if inconsistent - results last time around
"We showed last season in large phases that we are a very good team on our day," he said.
"We went to places like Old Trafford and White Hart Lane and got three points, and beat Chelsea at home as well, so we had some fantastic results.
"There's no reason why we can't build on that finish."
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