Drinan: You Can Imagine How I Felt
Monday, 30th Nov 2020 12:00
It was the cruellest of luck that saw Aaron Drinan, who had waited patiently for two years to make his Town league debut, withdrawn at half-time through injury when his big chance finally came along.
That was in Town’s 2-0 opening-day win over Wigan at Portman Road and the Cork-born player only made his comeback at the weekend, replacing fellow striker James Norwood as he succumbed to a hamstring injury 10 minutes before the break in the 2-0 defeat by Charlton.
Drinan had started both the Carabao Cup 3-0 home win over Bristol Rovers, as well as the 2-1 defeat at home to Arsenal’s U21 side in the EFL Trophy, but it was being given the nod to make his league debut against the Latics live on Sky Sports that meant so much to him.
As he prepared for tomorrow night’s trip to Oxford, when he is expected to feature in manager Paul Lambert’s starting line-up, Drinan recalled how his debut dream back in September ended in nightmare fashion.
“You can probably imagine how I felt,” he said. “I had waited two years for my league debut, only to be injured and unable to come out for the second half.
“I had a grade three tear – about 10 centimetres – in my quad so it was quite a serious injury. I was here throughout my rehab.
“In normal circumstances I would have been able to go home for the first week or two because you can’t do that much when the injury is still fresh.
“But I had to stay in Ipswich and rest it for between one and two weeks before going into the gym and later on doing some of the pre-season sort of runs all over again to get my fitness back up. It was a big blow but fortunately it’s behind me now.
“It was great to be back out there again on Saturday and I thought I did well when I came on. I’m only looking forward now and looking to play as much football as I can between now and the end of the season.”
With Lambert surprisingly admitting in the wake of last Tuesday’s 3-0 home defeat by Hull that he regarded Town as “hopeless” with two strikers, Drinan is looking to seize his chance to become the team’s main focus of attack.
“The opportunity is there for anyone who wants to take it,” he added. “My main aim now that I’ve got the place is to keep it and not give it back to anyone else.
“It’s up to the gaffer what system he wants to play and which players he is going to pick.
“As players we can only do our best when selected and it was working at the start of the season when we were unbeaten in our first six league games – five wins and a draw.
“Things haven’t been going so well recently and maybe people think we should have changed the system or the personnel, or whatever, but I think we just need to stick at what we’ve been doing and we’ll be alright.”
Drinan, who arrived from Waterford and signed a three and a half year contract in January 2018, spent loan spells with National League club Sutton United, back in Ireland with Waterford, in Sweden’s second tier with GAIS and in the Scottish Championship with Ayr United as he waited patiently for his first start as a Town player.
He continued: “I was loving it at the start of the season when I finally broke into the first team. It was a big step for me to come over from Ireland in the first place.
“It’s something that every young player wants to do, to come and play in England, and once I got my chance it was a terrific experience. I was enjoying it a lot but it ended with the injury and I now want to experience it again and for a lot longer.
“Some players take longer than others to settle in at a new club, especially when it’s in a different country, but I think I’ve done quite well.
“I think any player just wants to be the best in his position and to play regularly. I’ve faith in myself that I’m the best striker at the club and I will continue to show why.
“My first goal would mean a great deal to me. I’ve been at the club for a long time and getting a competitive goal is something I want to experience.
“I said in my last interview that it’s not just about scoring goals and there’s a lot more to the role but I realise the importance for a striker to add some goals.
“I’ll be looking to do that as well as all the other stuff to help the team and if I’m on the pitch and we are awarded a penalty at Oxford, yes, I’ll step forward.”
Town netted 13 times in their first six league games this season but have added just six more in their subsequent eight matches, but despite the goals drying up and the continued absence of midfield trio Gwion Edwards, Teddy Bishop and Jon Nolan, who have contributed 11 league goals between them, Drinan is confident of better times ahead.
He added: “There’s no doubt the injured lads will be missed but we have Jack [Lankester] and he is an unbelievable playmaker.
“He has also scored twice in the league so I think there is enough creativity in the team.
“All the young lads who have come through to the first team squad have played alongside each other at all the age levels during their time together in the academy and it’s great to see so many of them getting their chance in the first team.”
But Drinan accepts the tag of youngster should no longer apply in his case, pointing out: “I think there’s only so long that you can regard yourself as a young player. I’m 22 now and I definitely agree with the gaffer’s recent comments on that.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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