Motivation for the battle ahead
Hi. Hope you and your team had a good weekend.
We, Notts County, finally got our season up and running with a hard fought 2-1 victory against a very good Aldershot side on an emotional day for everyone connected with the club following the passing of Jimmy Sirrel. Just a quick note of thanks to the travelling Aldershot fans who at various times in the game broke into a chorus of "there's only one Jimmy Sirrel".
If anyone was at the game feel free to give me your opinion but I thought it was a marvellous advert for League Two football with both sides favouring attacking football in an end to end contest . All credit to Aldershot for their contribution to the game. The general consensus after the game was that they were the best team we had faced all season.
As you know lots of away teams can favour a slightly negative approach but it seemed to me Aldershot have brought the confidence that earned them promotion into League Two and I am sure that if they carry on with that "no fear" attitude they will be in and around the promotion scramble come May.
From our point of view we felt technically we were not at our best in terms of passing but we made up for that with the sheer hard work we put in over the 90 minutes and it was nice to get that monkey off our back of not winning a game.
At this stage of the season it is amazing what just one win can do. We have now sneaked into the top half of the table and needless to say the mood around the camp is a lot better. That is all apart from our fitness coach who during our recovery swimming session on Monday somehow managed to end up in the swimming pool with us... fully clothed. I am not prepared to disclose the identity of the two people who pulled poor Sven into the pool but I have been informed that they will be made to pay come the next running session!
Saturday's game was also a big milestone in my own recovery from injury. I made my first start in a competitive game in nearly eight months and although I came off after 77 minutes (probably because it looked as though I was towing a caravan!) I was pleased with my contribution to the game but at the same time I know that with the more games I can get under my belt the bigger the contribution will be.
One of the big changes in the game that has occurred during my career has been the emphasis put on the recovery after games .When I first started playing it was a case of shower, changed and off but now straight after the final whistle it's ice baths, recovery drinks, pasta meals and compression garments (of which there are many makes).
I must admit I was a bit sceptical at first but the older I have got my school of thought has changed. The way I look at it now is that if it is going to help me by even 1% it's worth it. That 1% may give me the edge over my opponent or help prolong my career.
With being out injured for so long, it was weird to get back into the match day routine that every player has. For instance, I had forgotten just how grumpy I get on the day of a game. I pity anyone who tries to have a conversation with me on match day. My wife and kids are aware of the situation and just leave me to it. It's not something I am particularly proud of but for me personally I have to focus on the game all morning, concentrating on the role that I have within the team and getting motivated for the battle ahead.