Press Release: December 18, 2009
He may only have been on the pitch for the last three minutes of stoppage time, but for Tom Aldred, those closing moments of Carlisles 1-0 victory over Wycombe were probably the best of his fledgling career so far.
Thats because the last gasp substitute appearance was the 19-year-old from Boltons senior debut as a Football League player, and was something hed been desperate to achieve having been given an indication that better things were to come having won last seasons League One Scholar of the Year Award before spending a rough and tumble three months with Workington in Blue Square North during the current campaign.
And no sooner had the MyFirstAgent.com represented star returned from the coast, he was being thrust into the action of trying to preserve a valuable lead in Saturdays League One battle at Brunton Park, with inspirational centre half Danny Livesey who ironically also started his career in Bolton being forced from the field with a head injury, just moments after being named the sponsors man of the match.
It meant a pressure-filled cameo for Aldred for his first outing, but after the game he felt nothing but elation.
Its been a long time coming, but now that its finally come, it feels great, he beamed. Ive had some brilliant moments here with the youth team, but I think those few minutes out there in the first team top it for me.
I was obviously nervous when I got the nod because of the situation we were in, only 1-0 up with a couple of minutes to go. Ive never been sent on in that sort of situation before, but I just had to go out there and concentrate 100 per cent to see the result out.
Its difficult to go and there and pick up the pace with the players who have been out there for 90 minutes, but once you get out there you just get on with it.
Aldred felt he was prepared for the occasion because of the grounding he has taken from his spell in non-league this season, and his gratitude to those who gave him a chance in senior football was keenly evident as he added:
At first, when the gaffer told me about going to Workington, I wasnt sure, but it went as well as it possibly could.
I met some really good lads there and some good staff I really have to hand it to people like Darren Edmondson, Viv Busby and Tony Caig, because I feel theyve really brought me on as a player. Its really done my confidence the world of good for the three months Ive had there.
You play against some rough players in that league. They may not have the ability of some of the players in League One, but theyll do anything to get the ball off you, and I even ended up with eight stitches in my eye during one game, so I had to play on with one eye effectively, but it toughens you up.
Ive got to kick on now, and the gaffer has been asking me to put pressure on the centre halves like Danny Livesey, Richard Keogh and Ian Harte, which is what I want to do.
Its been a lot of hard work to get to where I am now, but I know that itll be an even harder task to stay in the team. Im looking forward to the challenge.
His manager Greg Abbott was delighted with his determination and the manner in which he took to his loan spell at Workington, and was delighted that a planned strategy had helped to manufacture another first team quality star for his benefit. He explained after the game:
We have a game plan for every single player at this football club, and its all about doing the right thing for them.
Thats why we worked it out so that he could go away and play some real life football where it matters if you make mistakes and can leave you upset if that costs you points because it means the world. He understood why we did it and weve got to send our thanks to Workington for the part they played in it.
Today, the lad has got his rewards. Hes gone out there and done it, he rolled his sleeves up, and hes got a great attitude.
Hell have come in today and felt on top of the world.
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