Defender John Thompson believes that he is a ‘work in progress’ after making his first start of the season in our clash with Hereford United last weekend.
Signed from Notts County in June 2011, the 30-year-old is one of a select group of players to have featured for all three of our region’s professional football clubs, having begun his career at Nottingham Forest in January 2002.
Thompson was expected to play a significant role in our side last term, but suffered a horrendous facial injury during a pre-season encounter with Ilkeston, which caused him to spend several frustrating months of the 2011/12 campaign on the sidelines.
Jason Harrison (Mansfield 103.2) & John Lomas (Chad) are asking the questions
The experienced full-back has now admitted that it took him a lot of time to recover from the injury that he suffered on that fateful night at the New Manor Ground over a year ago.
Thompson said: “It took a lot of time, because there were a lot of physical and mental issues to deal with after what had happened.”
“I managed to get back on the pitch last season, but not necessarily being mentally 100% up for playing professional football again.
“I still think I’m probably a little bit of a work in progress at the moment and I still have some slight issues with my injuries, such as getting a stiff neck the day after a game.
“But at present I feel like I am perfectly able to do a job for the team and I’m still desperate to keep playing football and not give in to what happened, because it was a terrible thing and it shouldn’t happen on a football pitch”
Thompson, who made what was only his third Mansfield Town start at One Call Stadium last weekend, has also revealed that he felt more nervous about our last game than any other during his career.
He continued: “The 90 minutes were huge for me on Saturday, because I was probably more nervous than I have been for any other game in my entire career.”
“It was purely down to the fact that I was given a chance to get back into the team and sort of prove people wrong and stay playing professional football.
“The one thing that the gaffer [Paul Cox] has always said to me is that I would get a chance. He’s been true to his word, so it’s up to me now to keep my place.”
Despite trailing to an early Marlon Jackson goal, an equaliser from Exodus Geohaghon on the cusp of half-time earned us a point from our clash with the Bulls.
It was a game of few clear-cut chances and one which ended our sequence of four consecutive victories on home soil, but Thompson says he enjoyed the encounter.
“I really enjoyed it,” admitted the full-back, who has made almost 300 career appearances.
“It was a bit frustrating because Hereford came here looking for the draw and got everyone behind the ball which made it difficult for us.”
“We were a bit disappointed because we didn’t break them down and create many clear-cut chances, but there were some positives to take and I don’t think it was a disaster for us.”
“All I want to do now is stay in the team and repay the unbelievable support I’ve had from the supporters, by helping to get Mansfield Town out of this league.”
“The fans here deserve a little bit of success. They’ve stuck with me all the time and if I can help this club to win promotion, I’ll be delighted.”