Midfielder Jason Kennedy announced his return to the starting action with a typically full-blooded performance at Morecambe on Tuesday night – and he capped off his return with a trademark close-range finish which all-but secured the victory for the Blues.
We spoke to him about how it felt to bag his first goal of the season shortly after full time at the Globe Arena.
“It’s obviously been a long time since I’ve been out on the pitch so it’s nice just to get minutes under my belt,” he said. “Getting the goal has given me another lift and it’s made all the hard work I’ve done in the gym and with Dolly and Lee Fearn worthwhile. They’ve got me back in the right condition and it’s paid off.
“As far as the goal itself is concerned I saw that Shaun Miller was in behind me and he put the keeper off with his movement. I knew if I could flick it round him that it had a chance of going in because he was under pressure. Fortunately for me it went in.”
As for how it felt to be back in action, he told us: “It’s been a long six months and I’ve had so many ups and downs through it that it’s been unbelievable. To finally be out there and feeling good again is great, and I do feel like I’m ready to kick on now.
“It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster because I’ve never been injured like this before. The worst feeling is the frustration but there’s light at the end of the tunnel and I’m feeling strong. Hopefully this is the first of many appearances.
“I know there’s a lot of hard work for me still to do even though I’ve been involved with the lads and in training for two weeks now. When you’re out on the pitch you can sense the sharpness because everyone knows there’s real competition for places in the middle of the pitch.
“All I can do is work as hard as I can to get my standards up to the levels everyone else is at, because that’s the least the gaffer expects.”
Speaking about the group game victory over Morecambe, he said: “We know there’s controversy surrounding the competition but we have to understand that if we’re picked we’re expected to do a job.
“If you don’t you know there’s a bunch of hungry lads waiting to take your place. If you look at our bench on a Saturday there are players who you would think would usually be involved, and they’re all desperate to be out there.
“One of the toughest jobs we’ve all got this season is to keep our places, but you have to relish that kind of challenge as a player. If the opportunity to impress comes you have to take it because we all want to make sure our names are on the team sheet.”
“The other thing we wanted from this game was to put things right after what happened on Saturday,” he added. “Danny Grainger spoke to us all in the dressing room and he said it was now about how we reacted to that result.
“We worked hard, played some good football and we also matched Morecambe in everything we did. It was important for us that we did that.”
“We now have a big game against Mansfield to look forward to,” he concluded. “They’ve recruited a lot of players but we know we’ll be able to match them if we do our jobs right.
“Hopefully I’ve given the manager something to think about when it comes to him thinking about the team selection but I know he’ll be looking at who he thinks will get us the result on the day. If I’m part of that I’ll be delighted.”
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