Summer sacrifices are paying off for AFC Fylde attacker Serhat Tasdemir.
The 18-year-old has managed 14 National League appearances this season and has already matched his 2017-18 tally of four goals.
That has meant forgoing the summer sun and visits to his family in the Turkish coastal city of Izmir to work on his game in Lancashire.
Tasdemir, who scored Fylde’s winner against Boreham Wood12 days ago,
explained: “I usually go back to Izmir every year, but for the last two years I’ve had to sacrifice that so I could work on football.
“I’ve been dedicating my summers towards my goal of being a professional footballer and training even harder.
“Whether I’m starting or I’m off the bench, the attitude is the same – I give it everything I’ve got and try my best to make an impact.
“I want to get more regular starts if I’m honest. Coming off the bench I feel like I have more freedom, as I have nothing to lose, but when I’m starting I can be a bit shaky as I don’t want to mess up, so that’s where I want to develop.
“The squad are all like big brothers to me. They all give me advice in training and during the game, and they play a massive part in the confidence I have.”
Tasdemir admits Izmir is “nothing like Blackburn”, having come through the ranks at Ewood Park, where he was mentored by his compatriot and idol Tugay.
He added: “Tugay would give me advice and I was pretty close with him really. He’d come to my training sessions and I’d talk to him after the games with my dad.
“When I got released from Blackburn that was without a doubt the hardest moment for me.
“Most 16 or 17-year-olds wouldn’t be able to handle what I went through in terms of being released, going to different clubs, not getting in. At one point, I actually told my parents that I wanted a break from it all.”
Serhat Tasdemir was talking to Luke Lambourne for the AFC Fylde matchday programme