Dan Wooden has shaken off his holiday blues to prove his worth to Gosport Borough again.
The long-serving midfielder is now into his seventh year at Privett Park and has been with the club ever since their days in the Southern League south & west division.
Wooden continues to thrive and is expected to be in the side again for tomorrow’s home clash with Maidstone United as Borough bid to extend their unbeaten start to the campaign in Vanarama National League South.
But his status at Borough certainly did not earn him any special privileges from boss Alex Pike when he went off on a holiday in pre-season.
Wooden explained: ‘I had a holiday in pre-season, which I don’t think they were too happy about.
‘My dad lives in Singapore, so me and the missus went over there for two weeks to visit the family.
‘When I came back, he (Pike) had signed a few more players and I found I wasn’t even in the squad for the friendlies.
‘I suppose they had to do it. If I had come back from holiday and gone straight into the squad, it probably would have looked like the discipline wasn’t that great. So I understood it but I didn’t like it.
‘Then I was left out of the squad for the first game of the season but I was back in for the second one.
‘They probably wanted to prove a point.
‘But it’s only fair really. It’s been the same for others.
‘If players aren’t available, they have to work to get back in the squad.
‘I just knew I had to be patient and work hard to get back in again.’
Whether Pike wanted to make a point to the 25-year-old or not, he still sees him as a key part of the plans –especially after a recent switch back to a more orthodox 4-4-2 formation.
Wooden is one of the few natural wide players in the squad and signed a new three-year deal in the summer with an option for an extra year.
And that should take him beyond 10 years with the club.
Wooden said: ‘I enjoy my football at Gosport and I’ve never thought about going anywhere.
‘I might have said I’m leaving when I was moaning about something but I never really meant it!
‘I think I’m here for life. I went to Alex and told him I wanted to sign a new deal, even though I had another year on my contract.
‘Since I’ve been here, I’ve been signing one-year deals with an option.
‘I just wanted to be settled and not have to worry about any of that.’
And with Borough flying high in third place in the table, they are looking to build on their impressive start.
Wooden said: ‘Results-wise, we are over the moon but we haven’t really played that well yet.
‘But we are picking up results and that’s all that matters.
‘I don’t think Maidstone have had that great a start but they are going to be a good side.
‘They are one of the big clubs in this league.’
GOSPORT BOROUGH: Ashmore, Cuthbertson, Woodford, Poate, Williams, Wheeler, Carter, Harding, Dunford, Ryan, Scott, Wooden, White, Bennett, Wort, Barker, Walker