Keagan Cole and Potters Bar Town out to make up for lost time after two stolen years
- Credit: DANNY LOO
Keagan Cole voiced what probably the vast majority of young non-league footballers feel after coming through the pandemic - it has stolen nearly two years of our careers.
The Potters Bar Town midfielder is hoping the start of the 2021-2022 season does not end in a similar fashion to the last two, ended early and declared null and void, and wants to make sure he and his team-mates hit the ground running in an attempt to make up for lost time.
"It's been a hard time," said Cole, who has just turned 22. "Two seasons ago it ended early, null and void, and same again last season.
"It’s hard. We’ve just got to lift ourselves up and it comes down to hunger. We’re a young group of boys and everyone is hungry to move up.
"It’s near enough two years of our footballing careers gone and we all want to push on and perform.
"We want to keep the fans happy too and we want to play well, play good football and enjoy ourselves.
"We also want to finish as high as we can and this year, more than any other in the time I’ve been here, we’ve got a great opportunity to get close to the play-offs and even in them.
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"It’s down to us and we’re as hungry as ever to do that."
A top-half finish in the Isthmian League Premier Division or even higher would fly in the face of the predictions of most people outside the LA Construction Stadium, but then Bar have always ignored what others believe according to Cole.
He said: "It doesn’t really matter what people [outside of the club] think, we know among ourselves that we can be as good as we want.
"A lot of players are hungry to move [up the pyramid] and the only way we’ll do that is by performing well and finishing high up the table.
"We’ve got a really good group of players this year, a young group and a fit group.
"We’re looking to play a different way. We’re looking to play with a lot of energy, create a lot of chances and score a lot of goals.
"We want to be strong defensively too and the more pre-season games we play, the better we’ll be come the first day of the season."
The season also marks the first that Cole will have the captain's armband on a permanent basis, previous incumbent James Budden taking a step back from the role due to commitments outside of football.
He said: "It’s a good opportunity and something I’ve always wanted to be.
"There’s leaders within the squad without the armband but I feel I am one of them and it is a good opportunity to help the boys, help myself and progress in the game.
"It won't change my game. I’m just looking to progress."