If you don’t believe every second on the pitch counts in professional football, just ask Fleetwood Town’s Matty Blair.
The midfielder had been on the field barely 20 seconds on Saturday when he pounced to score his first league goal for the club.
It was the cherry on the cake in a 4-1 victory over Torquay United and a massive confidence boost for the former York City man, who has found pitch-time hard to come by since arriving at Highbury this summer.
“I feel a whole lot happier this week,” admits the 23-year-old, whose only starts so far this term have come in the Capital One Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
“It’s been difficult since I came here. I’ve not had a lot of game-time, so to come off the bench and score my first goal for the club at home is what every footballer dreams about.
“It’s that moment I’ve been waiting for and it feels good.”
Blair replaced fellow wide man Gareth Evans in the 90th minute.
Seconds later he found himself flying in to dispossess Aaron Downes in the Torquay half, recovering from the challenge to steer home David Ball’s cross.
“I think I’d been on maybe 20 seconds,” said Blair.
“I nicked it off the Torquay player – it was a bit of a bad touch from him.
“The ball’s rolled out of the challenge, Bally’s run on with it and I just managed to put it in.
“They were my first and second touches of the game ... and I’ve scored.”
Blair is hoping his goal will help convince boss Graham Alexander, who admits to agonising long and hard over Saturday’s team selection, to give him more time to impress.
He said: “If on the back of it I can get 20 minutes, great.
“I’d love a real run, a real chance and I know at some point it’s going to come.
“I’m hoping it’s going to be sooner rather than later, but I can’t have done myself any harm last weekend.” Town face Bury at Highbury on Saturday and, according to Blair, confidence among the players is high.
He added: “We were up even before the Torquay game.
“We came into that on the back of the (Johnstone’s Paint Trophy) win at Tranmere.
“The lads were already on a high and Saturday just keeps us there.
“They’ll be well up for Saturday, with Bury coming here and I’d love to be involved. I want to play in every game I can.”
And the midfielder, who started his career with Kidderminster Harriers, is hoping recent results are just the start of a purple patch for Fleetwood.
He said: “We need to go on a good run now and just keep the results coming.
“I think the gaffer has put a team together that, when we play to our potential, can beat anybody in this league. We’ve just got to keep it going.
“There are some big games coming up –Portsmouth you’d think will be a test and Chesterfield are looking a good side, so we know we’re going to have to be at our best.
“But on our day we know we’re more than a match for any side.”