11:00AM, Friday 29 June 2018
Having been on holiday to Mexico and spent his Saturday afternoons up ladders cleaning windows, Ryan Upward is chomping at the bit to get back to action with Maidenhead United in the National League.
However, the midfielder, who really excelled in the side’s first season in the National League, will have to wait for his chance to impress after picking up a costly red card that will rule him out of the season’s first four matches.
This week the midfielder, who will meet up with new teammates at the club’s first pre-season session on Saturday, admitted to being trepidatious when the likes of Harry Pritchard, Sam Barratt, Jake Goodman and Sean Marks all departed.
But he’s confident the five players manager Alan Devonshire has brought in will keep the side moving in the right direction this season.
“I was very close to Sam and Harry off the field as well,” said Upward. “They were great for us but I was obviously happy for them to go pro.
“You can’t stop them from doing that.
“At the start of the summer it looked like we were getting rid of a lot of players and weren’t signing anyone to fill the voids. But the gaffer has made some very good signings, a lot of strikers and wingers who have done bits in this league.
“I’m happy with the new guys, hopefully we all get along and have an even better season than last year.”
He’s now keen to get fit for the new season, having played a lot of golf this summer, but admits he'll have to bide his time – and work his butt off – to get back in Devonshire’s side.
“At the end of the season you feel a bit knackered,” he said.
“But within two weeks you start to miss it again.
“I haven’t known what to do with my Saturdays.
“You get a bit of a thrill from being three stories up on a ladder but it’s not the same as match day.
“I’m not looking forward to pre-season, because it’s hard, especially in this heat, but I can’t wait for the new season.”
When the season kicks off at the start of August Upward will be kicking his heels in the stands and watching on, but he’ll be breathing down the necks of the players in his position and Devonshire and assistant manager Sam Lock will have a decision to make over whether to throw the player back in when his suspension is up.
Upward was suspended for five matches in the Magpies penultimate game of last season, scoring before being sent off late on in the 1-0 win at Leyton Orient.
“It will be a strange start for me because I’m suspended for the first four games,” he said.
“I missed the Bromley game and will be out for the first four games of this season so it will be a slow start for me.
“From my point of view it would be great if we started with four 1-0 wins, but we don’t play that well so I’m not out of the side for too long.
“But, if we start well, I can’t expect to come straight back in.
“I’m going to have to work my butt off to get back in.
“But I’ll be ready for action and hoping to get back in.”
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