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INTERVIEW: Nothing compares to competitive games

3 April 2015

Nathan Buddle on his Football League debut

Defender Nathan Buddle spoke to us about making his Football League debut at Oxford last weekend.

"With the circumstances as they were, everything was a bit of a rush when I came on last week," he said. "I had to quickly get ready and go on, but I was over the moon to finally get a bit of pitch time.

"I've had to be patient and work hard and the gaffer has been great. He's kept talking to me and told me to keep my focus because my chance would come.

"I got the opportunity on Saturday and hopefully it wasn't just a flash in the pan. I'll keep working hard and hopefully I'll get a couple more opportunities before the end of the season." 

"I didn't have a lot of time to think about it at Oxford because I was told I was coming on as soon as Troy [Archibald-Henville] was sent off," he explained. "The gaffer just smiled at me and told me to enjoy it, so that took the pressure off. 

"I went on and did the basics because we were trying to hold on. Unfortunately we couldn't manage that in the circumstances."

On his appearances for the reserves, he said: "Playing in the Cumberland Cup last week was great. It was 90 minutes, and it was good to be on the pitch, but nothing compares to competitive games. 

"I've played in a few bounce games against Newcastle and Blackpool and they're great from a fitness point of view but, again, the competitive games are what you're dying to be involved in, especially in the Football League.

"Playing against people like Jonas Gutierrez and Siem De Jong when we went over to Newcastle was a great experience. It's nice to be able to say you've played against players like that but, like I said, you're just dying to be in the first team and playing at Brunton Park on a Saturday."

And on the step up from part-time to full-time football, he said: "I had a word with the gaffer about three weeks ago and we both agreed that I look a lot sharper than I was when I joined the club about two months ago.

"I feel a lot fitter and that's the difference between training twice a week, then playing on a Saturday, and training five days a week. I know myself that I feel a lot sharper with the ball and with the other work I have to do." 

"The lads have been great with me which has made the settling in period a lot easier," he told us. "Hopefully I can get a couple of starts before the end of the season and earn the chance to play by staying in the gaffer's thoughts." 

"First and foremost is for us to get the points we need. I think the dressing room is a bit frustrated because we know we've got bags of ability and talent. We've got to apply it on a Saturday and we'd been doing that until the Oxford game. If we can get it right we know we've got enough to stay up comfortably.

"We've got two massive opportunities with two winnable games over the Easter weekend. We'll go into both games feeling we can get three points. 

"I wouldn't say we were complacent against Oxford but I think we took our foot off the gas. We need to be at it on Friday and ready to go again on Monday. Hopefully we'll get the six points we need." 

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