AARON Oakley is hopeful his loan spell with Chippenham Town will help him go a long way towards feeling like a professional footballer again.
The young Swindon Town central defender did enough to earn his first full-time contract last summer despite seeing the previous season ended by a broken foot, before the same injury struck again in pre-season to so far rob him of his professional debut.
Wootton Bassett teenager Oakley is now fully fit and out on loan at the Southern Premier Bluebirds as he searches for much-needed match fitness and is looking to make up for lost time having not previously completed 90 minutes since December 2012.
“It’s been a really hard time because I was out for a long time with it last season and then to do it again in pre-season was a bit of a killer but I’m glad to be back now,” he said.
“I don’t really notice the injury to be honest, although there is a pretty big scar, and when I’m playing I don’t think about it at all because I’m concentrating on the game.
“Last year I was involved with the first team and I made the step up before I signed as a professional in the summer, but the injury came along again and I felt gutted. Over the last six weeks I’ve felt more involved with the first team and the gaffer’s been watching me in training so I’ve been able to show him what I can do.
“I’ve got this loan sorted now and things are starting to fall into place and it’s great to be able to get some games. Going to Chippenham is the best move for me because I haven’t played for so long and to play physical football against men will do me good for the future.”
Oakley made his Chippenham debut in the Hardenhuish Park side’s 3-3 draw with Frome on Boxing Day and although yesterday’s visit to Hungerford was postponed the defender believes he has already gained a lot from his loan spell.
“It was good to play and it was really good to get 90 minutes in because I thought I would probably only play an hour or something to ease my way back in,” he said.
“I played a development game for Swindon against Reading a few weeks ago and I felt tired and a bit rusty but against Frome I did well and won all my headers. I defended well and none of the goals were really my fault, although we needed to defend better as a team, so I felt I did quite well.
“I’ve got the rest of my month at Chippenham which takes me up until January 18 and then my match fitness should be up there so hopefully I can force my way into the team at Swindon.”
Swindon Supermarine’s home clash with Guildford was also postponed yesterday as was Cirencester’s clash with Shortwood.