Paul Malone believes hard work will be the key if Corby Town are to turn their season around.
The popular centre-half has, like the fans, had to watch on from the stands this season as he continues his recovery from the horrific double leg break he suffered back in February.
The Steelmen head into this weekend’s bottom-of-the-table clash against AFC Telford United at Steel Park in desperate need of a positive result after they suffered a seventh successive defeat in the Vanarama National League North when they were beaten 1-0 at Gloucester City last weekend.
And Malone is hoping the showdown with Telford can provide his team-mates with a “turning point” to their campaign.
“I think the gaffer (Tommy Wright) is frustrated because he is a proud man who wears his heart on his sleeve,” Malone said.
“He has changed things around a bit and hopefully in the next few weeks, we will see the difference.
“People will look at Saturday and say it is a big game. But every game is big at this level.
“No matter what league you are in, if you don’t turn up on the day then you will get rolled over. No-one wants to be in a relegation dogfight, especially after what we achieved last season (by winning the Southern League title).
“I think it all comes down to hard work doing the horrible things well.
“Hopefully Saturday can be a turning point for us, we really need a positive result.
“As long as every player, whether they have played well or not, comes off the pitch having put in a 100 per cent work rate, then the boys will get back to the form they were in at the start of the season.”
Malone had been due to return to action in a friendly against Northampton Town’s under-18 side on Monday this week, only for the game to be postponed due to heavy fog.
He could yet go out on loan to build up his match fitness.
But it’s clear he has a burning desire to now get back playing after an eight-month lay-off and prove he can still have a role in the second half of the season.
“I know that I need to prove to people and myself that I am capable of playing at this level again,” he added.
“I certainly don’t expect to walk straight back into the team when I am match fit. I know it is still going to take time.
“But I do feel like I can contribute, especially in difficult times like this.
“There have been games where we have struggled at set-pieces, which are my speciality, and I think I can bring some extra leadership to the squad as well.
“The sooner I can get out there and playing the better.”