Peterborough United midfielder Callum Chettle is at a career crossroads so a hamstring injury couldn’t have arrived at a worse time.
The 21 year-old has entered the last year of his contract at the ABAX Stadium so he needs games to convince Posh manager Grant McCann he is worthy of another deal.
Chettle has started just seven matches since arriving from non-league Nuneaton in January, 2016.
He started the last four games of last season, but has yet to appear in the 2017-18 campaign, partly because of a torn hamstring suffered in a reserve team match at the end of August.
“I’m in the last year of my contract and I’ve not played much football so this is a massive year for me,” Chettle admitted. “Watching from the stands has been tough. It’s been very frustrating, although if the team won promotion with me sitting in the stands every week, I’d accept that.
“We’re a very close-knit group. We want the best for each other and most importantly we want the team to do well. I want to play a part in that success though so to pick up an injury so early in the season was annoying. It all happened so quickly. I just went to close someone down, over-stretched and tore my hamstring.
“I was close to returning the other week, but had a little setback. I’m fine now though and excited about pushing for a place in the team.
“I just need to get a chance and take it. The manager has always said that players coming into the side will keep their place if they perform well.
“That’s the sort of pressure the manager wants to put us under and it’s okay with me.
“There is stiff competition for midfield places and for most positions.
“We had four top strikers until Junior Morias picked up his injury. Someone as good as Andrew Hughes wasn’t in the side at the start of the season.
“It’s been a good start to the season for us though. We have had poor results in the last two matches, but we are not far off the two points per game that would get us promoted if we maintained it over 46 games.”
The centre of the Posh midfield is seen by some as a problem area.
Anthony Grant has been the most consistent performer, but he looks set to suffer regular suspensions this season.
Michael Doughty started the season well, but his form has slipped in recent weeks, while Chris Forrester is yet to find the form that delivered him a place on standby for the Republic of Ireland squad two summers ago. Teenager Leo Da Silva Lopes has rarely been given a chance in his preferred position.
Chettle’s father is former Nottingham Forest central defender Steve Chettle, a veteran of over 400 games for his hometown club.