CENTRAL midfielder David Bridges has his eyes on a promotion medal with Chelmsford City this season to complete a personal haul of all three Blue Square Bet Conference divisions.
However, he admits he needs to fight for a place back in Glenn Pennyfather’s 11 first.
When the wintry weather took hold of local football prior to Christmas, twice-injured Bridges was quietly celebrating each postponed match as it meant one more he might compete in when he returned.
But since the former England C international made his comeback in the recent Essex Senior Cup tie at Concord Rangers each match which is called off due to frozen or waterlogged pitches fills him and his team mates with irritation.
The Clarets are attempting to claw back ground on the teams above them as they work through their games in hand.
Bridges says: “Before Christmas I didn’t mind the games being called off as I didn’t want to miss any! But I’ve been fit for all this time and now it’s just frustrating.
“Originally it looked like just one game, but it’s been such a pain.”
David was unlucky to suffer two “really innocuous injuries” in consecutive matches in October and November, after just nine minutes at East Thurrock United in the epic 4-4 penalty shootout win then before half time at Dover Athletic in the 4-2 FA Trophy victory.
Now he’s bidding for a place in Saturday’s league game at bottom club Truro City, providing the recent weather conditions give the opportunity, as well as the following Monday as boss Pennyfather leads his team out at home to Dorchester Town.
Bridges continued: “Against East Thurrock away I went up for a header with nobody near me then rolled my right ankle when I landed. That kept me out for three weeks.
“Then, in my comeback game at Dover I was running shoulder-to-shoulder with someone and the other one went. It was an identical injury and I was out for another seven weeks.”
“The left one took a few weeks longer to recover than we first thought and I had to do a lot of stability work. Thankfully I’ve never struggled with fitness, which is in my favour.
“I like to think we’re all in the same boat as none of us have played, so when the gaffer picks his next team he’ll see that.”
“That said, while I’ve been away the players in my position have done well. We’ve recorded some great results, especially in November, and it’ll be hard to get back in the team.
“Glenn has always said it’s your shirt to keep or lose, whoever you are.”
Bridges, who has one cap for the England C team to his name, started his career with Cambridge United.
He progressed through the club’s youth system and eventually broke into the First Team in 2001, departing after three seasons, but rejoining following success at Histon in 2005.
He said: “I was attached to Cambridge from the age of eight.”
This was followed by a brief spell in Latvia, playing for FK Riga. He joined Kettering Town for 2007/08 and played an important part in the club achieving promotion from the Conference North to the Conference National in his first season.
At the end of that campaign he joined Stevenage on a free transfer and helped them to FA Trophy success, promotion to the Football League then back-to-back promotions.
He joined Chelmsford in August and wants more promotion success on his CV.