We spoke to midfielder John O'Sullivan shortly after full time on Saturday to talk about his first goal of the season in the victory over Chesterfield at Brunton Park.
“I think everyone could see with my celebration how much the goal meant to me,” he said. “I think the rest of the lads enjoyed it as much as I did because they know how hard this season has been for me. I obviously had my injury and this season isn’t what I’d planned in my head.
“I’ve been going in to see the gaffer almost every week telling him to play me and give me a chance. We had the same conversation on Thursday and he said he would give me a chance in the game, but I had to do something with it. I managed to score with my first touch so hopefully he’ll keep giving me these chances.
“If I’m being honest, I’ve been disappointed in myself this season. It hasn’t been to do with my ability, there has been other stuff going on with my injury. It probably took me until January to feel right since I’ve came back. I’ve been putting a lot of work in during the last couple of weeks to try and get myself up to the level I know I can get to."
“I want to be in a position to help the team as much as I can," he continued. "I know when I’m at full pelt no one can deal with me, so I’ve been trying my hardest to get to that. I want to help the team and be there as an option.
“I tell the gaffer every week to keep playing me. I huff and I puff when I don’t play and even before today’s game I was angry that I didn't start. I spoke to Westy [Colin West] and the gaffer and they told me to keep my head and keep my composure. I did that, I watched the game and saw areas where I could come on and hopefully be involved in a goal. Thankfully I did that today.
“I think since January, every time I haven’t played and we haven’t won, I’ve knocked on the gaffer’s door. He hasn’t turned his back on me and we haven’t argued, we’ve disagreed, but he hasn’t once said he doesn’t think I’m good enough.
"We spoke after he left me out of the squad at Wycombe, and he said he could see it’s given me that kick I needed and that my attitude since then has been great. In training I’ve been the John O’Sullivan he knows I can be. Hopefully today I’ve paid him back."
On his goal, he said: “The corner came in, and usually I would be on the edge of the box, but I thought it was worth getting in there because I knew I needed to do something. The gaffer said I needed to produce something and I had that in my mind.
"I wanted to get in there and score, so next time he brings on a sub or he’s picking the team my name is being thrown around. The finish wasn’t easy but I’m at the stage where if I get a chance I know I need to take it.
"I would have done anything to get that into the back of the net just for that feeling afterwards. It’s been such a disappointing season for me and we know the fans have been frustrated with us as a team.
“The goal today will hopefully give me that extra push. Last season in the last ten games or so I probably played the best I have for this club. There are 13 games of this season left now and hopefully I can finish the same way as I did last year."
And on his determination to produce the goods, he commented: “The fans haven’t seen a lot of me this season but it was good to be able to remind them what I’m about again.
"Obviously Nicky [Adams] got injured, which meant we switched to a formation which doesn’t use wingers, which then meant the gaffer didn’t need me. I’ve been getting on when we’ve been chasing games, but not for long.
“We’re back to playing 4-4-2 at the moment, with wingers, and I want that winger's spot. I want to be that right winger when we start games. Hallam [Hope] has probably nailed down his place on the left now, because he’s been our best player in the last couple of games playing there.
"The lads have been doing well but I want to be the main man on the right. I’ve said that since my first game back in a reserve game against Fleetwood before Christmas."
“I know I need to keep working hard," he admitted. "I came on for ten minutes and scored, but there are other areas where I know I need to improve to be the player I want to be. The gaffer keeps telling me he knows I’ve got the attributes, I just need to show them now."
But are the play-off places still a realistic aim?
“We need to keep winning so we get as close to the play-offs as we can, and then we can see what happens," he told us. "I’ve just looked at the table after the games today and the gap is down to eight points. Why can’t we make it with the squad we’ve got?
“Lots of things have happened this season, we’ve had key players missing, but our squad has got plenty of ability. We’ve had to bring in new players and change shape and things like that. We’ve now hopefully got a settled formation and players coming to form. We’ve got 13 games left and there’s no reason why we can’t win them all."
“The fans were singing my name again after I scored and it’s been a while since I’ve heard that song," he added. "It was nice to hear them singing all around the ground today and the win will give everyone another boost.
"Before the game the gap was 11, and now it’s down to eight. We’re capable of winning three games then the gap could be nothing. We’ve got to take it game by game because you don’t know what can happen with other results.
“We’ve got a massive game at Barnet on Tuesday now. They drew with Accrington today, so it will be a tough game. They're fighting for their lives and they’ll have to beat us on Tuesday, but we need the three points just as much as they do so we can kick on.
“We’ve got a really good togetherness in our squad and the gaffer has been great with us. He’s kept that positivity, even when we lost last week he didn’t once say that we couldn’t make the play-offs.
"If we take it game by game and keep picking up wins ... who knows where the season could take us.”
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