09:46AM, Friday 29 April 2022
Maidenhead United boss Alan Devonshire will be pulling players aside in training over the coming weeks to talk about their future and tell them whether he sees them as part of the club's plans for next season.
Midfielder Ryan Upward is hoping his performances this season have done enough to convince the Magpies boss he's deserving of a new contract; however, he knows football can be a cut-throat business where hard-hearted decisions are made, and he also knows that at 29, he's not getting any younger.
“He'll be approaching people individually,” he said. “He's probably talking to the players he wants to keep already.
“He'll also be looking at new players, and you've got to be quite savage at times and tell players when you don't want them or they're not part of your plans anymore.
“That could be me soon, I’m not getting any younger. I’m 29 but I know I’m still one of the fittest in the team and that benefits me and as I get older maybe I can adapt my game.
“Hopefully I can keep performing and keep being competitive with my teammates in the squad. I might need to play well in these next four games to get that chance.”
Competition for places at Maidenhead has intensified this season, with Charlee Adams, Shaun Donnellan, and Kane Ferdinand all vying for central midfield berths, however, Upward has generally played when fit and believes he's improved as a player from last season.
“Personally, I feel like I've been better this season,” he said. “Last year was probably my worst year, but I do put that down to being stressed out about trying to get a mortgage through and the pandemic.
“We were expecting a baby, we had the baby, there was a lot going on.
“At the time I didn’t think it was that. I just thought I was playing poorly, but this year I’ve been a lot more relaxed and less angry at the referees, and I’ve learned to bite my tongue. I feel I’ve been a lot better, individually. I haven’t scored many goals, I think I scored nine one year, but I was more advanced that season, I have different roles, I don’t often go forward for corners, I’m more on the edge of the box. Goals wise it could be better, but I don’t put my performances down to goals anymore. I seem to be in the team when I’m fit.
“There’s a lot of centre midfielders in our squad and the gaffer pulled us a few months ago to say there would be a lot of rotation.”
Closures are planned on the M4 between Langley and the M25 this weekend for smart motorway works.