Fresh from a lengthier run out for the U’s on Saturday at Carlisle, striker Andrew Dallas says he’s “up for the fight” to tie down a more regular spot in the side and discusses the importance of keeping his personal standards high.
The young Scot has had to bide his time for competitive match minutes so far this season and describes the tricky task of maintaining a mind frame that ensures he’s ready for action when called upon.
He said: “It’s what football is like and it’s why everyone loves it, because it’s so unpredictable. You never know what can happen during a game and when you’ll be required to go on, which is why it’s so important to stay mentally ready.
“Even if you have been disappointed to be on the sidelines, you need to get yourself into a state where you are mentally sharp and ready to go on at any minute, because football can change on its head so quickly.
“I have been keeping myself fit with the sport scientists and also been doing my own routine in the gym, but there’s keeping yourself physically fit and then there is another level where you need a match sharpness. I have been featuring in the cup games which has kept me ticking over.
“You also have to keep your focus as well. It’s not been an issue but more of challenge transitioning from being used to playing in most matches at reserves football at Rangers to a first team environment here. You have to fight for your place and I feel like I’m ready to step up to that challenge.”
Dallas was introduced to the action ten minutes before the break at Brunton Park on Saturday, and he was pleased it provided an extended opportunity to put his combination with Sam Smith - which is a regular feature in training - into practice within a competitive match situation.
“We are always linking up in training, so it was good to get out on the pitch with him because we’ve only really had 20 minute spells on the pitch together this season. Whether it’s Sam, me, Rico, Knibbsy or Jabo playing though, we’re always looking for link ups because the combinations are not only nice on the eye but can be really effective in games too.
“The gaffer is always on to us about working on those different combinations with each other.”
The 20-year old doesn’t shirk away from the disappointment he’s felt in spells of the season so far, but is clear in his mind about what he must to do to be able to fulfil his immediate ambition of becoming a “menace” for the U’s.
He said: “To be honest it has been a little frustrating because even in the games I have been coming on, I still feel like I have a lot more to offer and show the fans what I’m about.
“I scored a goal a couple of weeks back and have been involved in the build to a few others, but I’m always pushing myself to keep my standards high.
“I just want to be involved and to be a real menace. I know I just need to keep doing the right things, working in the right way in training and see where it take me.”