HAVING spent the early part of the season frustrated by a lack of opportunities, Simon Dunn is delighted to have forced his way into the Basingstoke Town team.
The midfielder was consigned to the bench for much of the first three months of the season and had the opportunity to make a loan move in order to play games.
However, Dunn has not looked back since being asked to fill in on the left wing for the trip to Boreham Wood in early November, with a string of fine performances cementing his place in the team.
The 21-year-old has started all eight of Town’s games since and often been singled out for praise by manager Jason Bristow. Meanwhile, a pair of crucial goals – the winner against Tonbridge Angels and the equalising goal that sparked the team’s incredible 15 minute spell at home to Farnborough, have also endeared him to the supporters.
Dunn said: “I am really pleased that I stayed at the club and waited for my time to come.
“I was really frustrated earlier in the season and there was talk of me going out on loan to Chippenham again. It was a tough situation but I stayed patient, was given my opportunity and took it.
“It’s been nice to get a good run in the team and I’m really enjoying it. That is eight games in a row that I have started and I have got a few goals and assists as well.”
Dunn has become the first member of Town’s youth academy to make the grade as a first team regular – and the Tadley youngster is delighted to be playing for his local club.
“It means a lot to me because I was born in Basingstoke and grew up in the area,” he said. “I know a lot of people here so it’s nice to be playing and showing them what I can do.”
Until recently, Dunn had played most of his football in the centre of midfield – but he insists that he is learning to enjoy playing on the left side.
“I do not really mind where I play, I just love playing,” Dunn said. “I had not played on the left much before this season but I have had a good run and am really enjoying it out there.
“It’s a position I am learning as I go on. In the first game, Matt Warner was instructing me almost all of the time from left-back, which helped, but I feel I have settled in now and I’m more confident.”
As a result, Dunn has played a key part in Basingstoke’s last two victories – and he is hoping that there are more to come.
“We were all delighted to finally record back-to-back wins,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming but we have all been working hard in training and hopefully this is a sign that things are turning around.
“Staines are next and we need another win. We have a good run of home games at the moment so hopefully we can push on and move up the table.”