CHARLIE Trafford is more determined than ever to secure his Caley Thistle starting spot – after spending the last two months kicking his heels.
A bizarre thumb injury picked up in training cost him his starting spot following the Queen of the South game and until Tuesday night, he had not started since.
He was arguably one of the club’s more high-profile summer signings, given he came on a three-year contract from Finnish side RoPS and had the job of replacing Ross Draper.
However, bad luck and the form of the Caley Jags in his absence has meant a frustrating spell on the sidelines for the Canadian international midfielder.
Iain Vigurs’ suspension handed him a chance against Brechin and he hopes to have done enough to get his place back again.
Trafford said: “It’s always good to get 90 minutes and three points, which is the most important thing. It’s hard and frustrating to lose my spot through injury – a stupid one at that. I was frustrated about that and the team was in good form, so I’m chomping at the bit to get back in the squad.
“I got here and played six or seven games then lost my place for the next seven, so you feel a bit rattled. But that’s football. I wouldn’t say it’s horrible. It takes time to get your confidence and match-fitness back but we have a good group here and people that look after you. I wouldn’t say I’m too lost.”
Even stranger was the fact it came at the same time as skipper Gary Warren suffered the same injury.
He said: “Me and Gary both had the same thing five days apart - who would think that? These things happen but you’ve got to react in the right way. When the chance comes like Tuesday, step in and try to help the team get going again.
“Both of us slipped and landed weird. My thumb was out of place and was in a cast for six weeks. You feel stupid, having to miss games through a hand injury. We have boys who are willing to step up and that’s the sign of a good team. Gaz and I are rooting for the team but are right behind them, making sure they earn their position.”
The 25-year-old was understandably pleased to play his part in Caley Thistle’s 4-0 win over Brechin – even if the heavy Caledonian Stadium pitch made things a challenge.
He said: “It gets a bit physical and your legs start to go but if you can find a way to win, that’s the sign of a good team.”