Despite barely featuring for Fleetwood Town this season, it hasn’t been a tough start for team player Ash Eastham.
The Town defender has been a key part of every season that he’s been at Highbury so far.
Eastham has made 43, 49 and 52 appearances in consecutive seasons for the Cod Army but his appearances during this campaign can be counted on one hand.
He came back into the side for the FA Cup win over Barnet, his first appearance since September 25, and will be hoping to feature against Tranmere Rovers at Highbury this afternoon.
But despite the lack of game time, Eastham has remained positive and focused.
“It’s not been tough at all,” he said.
“As a professional footballer I am paid to come here, I’m paid to come and train and give my all for this football club whether I’m picked or not.
“There’s no point bringing any negativity towards yourself or the squad, it doesn’t help anyone.
“I’m fully committed to this side, fully committed to the message the gaffer sends to the players.
“We’re all pulling in one direction and we all truly believe we can make it a successful season.
“Hopefully my performance in the FA Cup warrants a pick in the side for this weekend.
“If not, I’ll keep working hard, keep training hard to give everything to this squad.
“It was a bit of a struggle towards the end of pre-season, I had a great pre-season under my belt and then got a bit of a knock at the start of the season which didn’t help things get going.
“Now I’m back fully fit and ready to give my all for the side.”
Part of the draw of being a member of the current Town squad is the undeniable quality that they have.
For Eastham, this is the strongest squad that he has been involved with.
He said: “I was talking to one of my friends who is at another club at the moment and I said it’s potentially the strongest League One side I’ve been a part of, since I’ve been playing at this level.
“That fills you with confidence on a matchday, it fills you with confidence every day when you come into training.
“As a club we would like more clean sheets, that’s my number one focus whenever I play and come into the side.
“It would be nice to chip in at the other end with set pieces and that is potentially where I would like to improve, but my number one focus without a doubt, is to pride myself on clean sheets.
“It means, at a minimum, we’re going to get something from the game.”