EXCLUSIVE JORDAN HUGILL COLUMN
A FEW people have asked me what was I thinking when I got myself sent-off against MK Dons for a petulant stamp on my opponent.
My answer is, ‘Not very much’!
I was absolutely distraught to be shown the red card and even now I still can’t believe what I did.
Walking off the pitch and in the dressing room at Stadium:MK, all I could think about was how much I had let everyone down – my team-mates, the fans, the manager and his staff.
It’s not the first time I have received my marching orders in Preston colours – I was sent off last season against Walsall in similar circumstances.
Earlier in that match at the Bescot Stadium, I also suffered a really bad knee injury which eventually required surgery and kept me on the sidelines for months, so at least I didn’t get injured this time.
But I cannot tell you what possessed me to stamp on Kyle McFadzean after he had made a strong tackle – if I knew that I would not have done it.
It was stupid and petulant, but I can assure everybody that it’s going to be the last time I do anything like that again.
I can’t afford to be doing things like that – I will start to get a name for myself as someone with a bad attitude, which could not be further from the truth.
I am a player who tries to do as much as I can no matter if I am in the team from the start or I come on as a substitute in the 85th minute.
Especially with the injury I suffered last season, I suppose every opportunity I get, I try to make the most of it and that probably causes me to get a bit carried away and try too hard.
As a centre-forward who likes to lead the line, my game is based around being aggressive and putting myself about – a bit like Joe Garner is in a way.
I do not want to lose that edge to my game, but I think I have got to be a bit more clever about the way I go about things.
Defenders will always try to dish it out a bit in a physical sense and strikers like myself like to give a bit back, but I’ve got to show a bit more nous on the pitch.
The good thing was my sending off did not cost the team too much as we won the game 1-0 and I would like to thank all the lads for the support they showed me afterwards.
They all told me not to worry about it in the dressing room and people like John Welsh and Tom Clarke text me later on in the evening just to say that these things happen and to keep my chin up.
The frustrating thing was that I got a three-game ban just as I was starting to make an impression in the team. I had scored against Crewe in the Capital One Cup first round from the penalty spot and had featured as a substitute in the first two league games of the season.
To add insult to injury – literally – I then suffered another worrying injury in a Lancashire Senior Cup game against Everton at Southport.
Thankfully, the injury turned out to be not too serious and I am now back to full fitness and raring to go.
It was great to get my first goal from open play against Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup – a header at the back post which brought us level and took the game into extra-time.
Greg Cunningham swung a great ball into the area for me and I said to Greg and the lads afterwards, ‘You can’t hang a ball like that up at the back stick and not expect me to get on the end of it’!
It was obviously disappointing to lose on penalties, but the lads can be proud of the way we battled against Premier League opposition. I was one of the three players who missed in the shoot-out and I just think the keeper made a great save.
The big target for me now is to get my first start in a league game for the club – hopefully that might come against Wolves on Saturday. I’ve played from the start in cup games, but my appearances in the league have all come off the bench.
I am desperate to repay the manager’s faith in me and prove myself in the Championship.