A run of five consecutive appearances through December and into January has seen defender Jack Armer lay down his marker following an injury affected start to the campaign which saw him miss out in pre-season, and as the fixtures finally got under way.
The manner of his performances have seen him pick him man-of-the-match accolades both home and away, and his versatility was demonstrated with a first ever appearance in the right back role – a day which brought a superb assist for a fantastic Omari Patrick finish.
We caught up with him this week to talk about his recent run of games.
“I got an injury which meant I missed the whole of pre-season, and that knocked me back a bit,” he said. “I’ve had to work hard in training and do extra bits, but hopefully I’ve taken my chance now I’ve got myself into the team.
“I know the gaffer has got confidence in me which is good, because it means I always knew I would get my chance. When that comes you have to take it.
“I think I’ve played eight games now, with a few 90 minutes, and I just want to keep playing and doing well and picking up clean sheets.”
Looking back to stepping up against Mansfield, he told us: “I hadn’t played since February so it was a long time between that and my first start against Sunderland.
“I played a couple of other cup games but by the Mansfield game I still felt like I hadn’t played for ages. I think it took me 20 minutes to settle into it and I was a bit nervous going into that game, to be honest.
“As for what I was asked to do, I think I’d played 20 minutes at right back in my whole career before that Mansfield game. It took a bit of getting used to, it’s different because you’re tackling with different feet and your body shape has to be different, but I feel like I did alright.
“I played left wing back last year and just spent the whole match running up and down the pitch, so I was fine with that, and I do like to get forward. If I can get a couple of assists then that’s even better.
“You’ve just got to take those opportunities when they come. As long as I get to play I’m not really bothered where it is. I managed to set the goal up for Marzi, it was nice to be able to come inside and get the ball in because teams don’t tend to expect that.
“It seems to open up a lot more when you come in from the wing and you can see the whole pitch a lot better. Omari made a great run and I just tried to pick him out. You do tend to know as soon as the ball leaves your foot that it’s a decent ball, but the touch and finish from Omari was pretty special.”
Having played a huge part in the team’s rise to top spot, he commented: “It’s good to be in the team and involved. Looking back five or six weeks ago, I’d only played four games all season and I was just trying to get a chance.
“I was a bit frustrated but I just had to make sure I played well when I did get that chance. I wouldn’t say you lose confidence when you aren’t playing, it’s more frustration.
“I think when the team is doing so well it makes it harder because you just want to try and add to that, but you know it’s hard for the gaffer to change things.”
But how does it feel for the lads in the dressing room knowing that they’re currently leading the promotion charge.
“Even though we lost the first three games of the season you could tell we had a good set of lads here as soon as we came back in,” he told us. “We’ve got some great players here so there was always a chance of something good happening this season, and hopefully we can keep that going.
“We’re all good mates with each other and it’s just a really good set of lads. There’s not one person you don’t get on with in the dressing room and that’s important. Even if we make signings in January, I think that will just pull the group a bit tighter.
“The gaffer just wants us all to keep going as we are, we’re top of the league, so I don’t think there’s much that needs to change. It’s a really enjoyable place to be at the moment, I think everybody looks forward to coming into training, it’s brilliant.
“Even though we are where we are we all feel there’s still more to come. There are lads who haven’t played yet, Josh [Dixon] could have played on Saturday and we’ve got Brennan [Dickenson] coming back, so there’s still things to add.
“There’s competition for places throughout the squad which is what the gaffer wants, and it means all of us have to be at the top of our game to make sure we play.”
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