TOWN striker James Dean is anxious to make up for lost time as he continues his bid to prove his form and fitness ahead of the new Blue Square North season which kicks off at home to Corby Town a week on Saturday.
Dean was knocking goals in for fun two seasons ago but suffered a nightmare campaign last time out after tearing a tendon which kept him out of the game for six months.
However, he has been working hard to get himself back up to full speed and continued his rehabilitation with a workmanlike 75 minute stint in Tuesday night’s 1-1 friendly draw with York City at the Shay.
Dean certainly made his presence felt to the York defenders and left the field to a rousing ovation from the Shay faithful.
After the game Dean said he was now on a mission to make sure his name is one boss Neil Aspin cannot ignore when the action gets underway proper.
“It was great to get plenty of time out on the pitch on Tuesday night,” said Dean.
“I have been building things up slowly. I had 30 minutes when I came on against Mansfield and 45 last Tuesday against Port Vale.
“Obviously I want to get it up to a full 90 but the Gaffer said just try and get 75 in against York which is what I did.”
Dean will be keen to prove his fitness again when Town wrap up their pre-season preparations at Ashton United on Saturday after rejecting the notion that his enforced absence may have dropped him down the pecking order.
“I don’t think that is the case really,” he added. “Last season was a bad one for me, but I am just concentrating on myself now and getting myself fit and prove that I am good enough to start.
“There is good competition for places at the club but it is the manager’s decision who he wants his starting 11 to be when the season kicks off.
“All I can do is keep getting game time and play well and hope to put my name to the front of his thinking.”
Dean was disappointed not to score against York but he is confident that area will be sorted once he is firing on all cylinders.
“I would have loved to have scored because it is my job,” said Dean.
“But I am confident I will get goals. I have been out for six months so I am keen to come back fit and concentrate on doing my job for the team.
“As far as the injury is concerned I am still in rehab. It is not something that is going to go away overnight and I have been working with the physio to make sure I do things properly.
“I just have to stay strong and focused and that is what I am concentrating on.”
Town supporters wishing to travel to Saturday’s game at Ashton United are advised that transport will leave the Shay at 1pm. Cost is £12 return. Contact the Traveline on 07707 143094 for details.