December 10 2013 Latest news:
Friday, August 30, 2013
Last season Daggers defender Luke Wilkinson was the standout player in a disappointing season for the club and now he’s back from injury he’s keen to make sure there’s no repeat of the final day relegation fears.
Wilkinson has been on the treatment table at Victoria Road for a large chunk of pre-season with a groin injury and after the superb season he had individually, the most frustrating thing has been that he’s not been able to kick on this time round.
“It’s been a frustrating time not being involved and not able to play and kick on from last season but now I am back I am looking to fight for a place back in the team,” said Wilkinson.
“Last season is last season. I have to move on and try and get back into a team which has started pretty well.
“It is frustrating after such a good season, I want to be playing and I don’t want to be sat out watching everyone else I want to be helping them out on the pitch. But hopefully that’s over now and I can get back in the team and kick on again.”
The 23-year-old had been fortunate enough in his fledgling career to remain injury free until this stage, but that was just another annoying point for the former Portsmouth youngster.
“It’s my first major injury and that is what is frustrating about it,” he added. “You don’t think it is ever going to happen but now I am just glad to be back so touch wood nothing else happens.”
There was little competition for Wilkinson last year with the back four picking itself for the most part but boss Wayne Burnett added competition in Brian Saah.
And with Saah starting well for the Daggers, the former Dartford and Boreham Wood loanee knows he won’t walk straight back into the side.
“The extra competition keeps you on your toes,” he said. “Nothing as a player makes you perform better because you don’t want to be out of the team.
“Brian has come in and done very well, he was captain at Torquay and he’s been big and strong and really well to be fair.”
His road to recovery has seen him take part in two behind-closed-doors friendlies against Southend and Colchester in recent weeks.
And though at first he felt rusty, with a fortnight of training under his belt on top of the matches, Wilkinson believes he is now ready and waiting if Burnett calls upon him.
“The first 90 minutes was a bit tough because of what it is but on the second one I felt a lot fitter especially with two or three weeks training behind me now as well so that’s helped,” he added.
“I feel ready if the gaffer wants me to go back in on Saturday or whenever it is I’ll be ready to play.”
It must be nice for Burnett to have the defender to call upon once again, and if he matches his performances from last season, the Daggers will hopefully be nowhere near the relegation zone.