Standing still - 01/09/2004

Standing still

In terms of my career, 2004 has been a very frustrating year for me. Injury caused me to miss a number of games but since I've been fit I've never had the opportunity to pick up where I left off. At the end of last season I decided, as I've always done, to put my frustration into good use by taking the energy and using it to improve my fitness and conditioning. Over the summer I didn't go away on holiday, apart from weekends, I never had a day off...because I know that if you stand still in football others can move in front of you.

One of the highlights of anyone's life is seeing their child born, and I was lucky enough to witness the birth of my son earlier this summer. My wife has been brilliant in keeping me going and encouraging me to do my best and remain focused on training. Without them I'd have been even more frustarted than I am at present!

I did miss a few pre-season games after the birth of JJ, but felt that I'd done enough to justify selection for a first team place. The gaffer then put me in for the Northampton cup-tie and although we didn't pay well as a team, I felt as an individual that I'd done quite well. It was therefore a shock to see that I wasn't starting in the following league game.

I know people tell me that I have time on my side, that goalkeepers mature later, and that I shouldn't worry...but I feel that I'm standing still. I'm training hard, I'm actually going into training tomorrow an hour before everyone else, and feel that I should be making progress. I do feel let down and when other players and fans ask me why I'm not in the team - what can I tell them? It's a funny feeling when I walk down the touchline at the Priestfield and the crowd applaud me...all I want to is play!

Ultimately I know that I have the potential to play at a higher level - and I don't want that to sound big-headed, but that confidence comes from people who know the game and who've either coached me or seen me play. It's a frustrating time for me, but I'll keep training hard and see where it takes me.

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