Anwar is back in business!
For most players, a place on the substitute s bench wouldn t be top of the agenda, but for defender Anwar Uddin, it is something he is currently relishing. The popular centre-half has finally got himself back into contention for manager John Still s first
by MIKE SIMMONDS
For most players, a place on the substitute's bench wouldn't be top of the agenda, but for defender Anwar Uddin, it is something he is currently relishing.
The popular centre-half has finally got himself back into contention for manager John Still's first-team squad, after picking up a nasty injury in pre-season.
Although he hasn't tasted any action on the field yet, he has been named amongst the substitutes for the matches against Shrewsbury Town and Notts County.
"It was really nice, because being injured, you do feel a bit detached," he admitted.
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"As much as I try to speak to the lads every day and make sure they are all ready for the game, you've got to worry about your own rehab and it sets you apart really.
"The gaffer has put me on the bench, and it's just good to get around the boys and get them going.
"In the warm-up (for the Shrewsbury game), Terry Harris got me to do a little speech to gee the boys up, and it obviously worked as they won 5-0!"
Uddin hasn't enjoyed the best of luck injury-wise over the last two seasons, as he was restricted to 21 appearances in the last campaign, after suffering a number of minor knocks.
This time round, he was raring to go in pre-season, until one moment in training cost him his chance of fighting for a place.
"I came back ready for pre-season, but about five days in, I went for a challenge and someone landed on my knee, which bent it the wrong way," he said.
"It was really painful, and it meant I was out for five or six weeks at a crucial time.
"I haven't done any fitness work and haven't even played a game yet, so I'm a month behind everyone.
"It's just life though, you enjoy the highs and take the lows, that's part and parcel of football, I'm just pleased the boys are doing so well."
Despite a heavy defeat to Notts County at the weekend, Daggers are still second in the table with three wins and a loss from their four matches.
That the team is doing so well brings obvious delight to Uddin, who has seen the club rise up from their days playing non-league football.
"I'm just buzzing that this club continues to improve each and every year," he said.
"This is my sixth year, I'm part of the furniture now, and when I'm in the team, on the bench, or injured, it means so much to me.
"For five years, I have put my heart and my soul into this club to get it where it is, as have all the others boys.
"Some aren't here now, but I still am, as long as we're winning games and making headlines, it makes me very happy, regardless of whether I'm in the team or on the treatment table."
There have been plenty of players come and go in Uddin's six years at the club, but none more so than the past summer, in which Daggers' promotion-chasing team was dismantled.
Ben Strevens, Sam Saunders, Danny Foster and Magnus Okuonghae have all moved on, while Matt Ritchie returned to Portsmouth after his loan ended.
"This is the first year where we've seen quite a big exodus," said the defender.
"But I've been with 'Stilly' for six years here and two years at Bristol Rovers, and he is one man, along with the people who work at the club, who can spot talent.
"Not just talent either, but at this club we're really level-headed and get on with each other.
"If a player who comes in thinks he's too big for the club or too good a player, then he's not going to fit in.
"The boys who have come in have hit the ground running, we're all growing together and we just get stronger and stronger.
"Players come and go, it's how you deal with that. This club has a way of playing, a certain ethos, character and spirit that will never leave, it will always be there."
Now Uddin is back in the Daggers squad, his immediate aim is a personal one though, and that is to get as many games as he can to get back to full fitness, and then make his way back into the first team.
"I can't wait just to play, to get one game under my belt," he said.
"If I can get a few games under my belt, then I'm seriously back, and then when I'm called up if needed, I can do myself justice.
"I want to get my head down and work really hard as when I'm at my fittest, it's going to give the club a bonus as I know what I am capable of."
How much of a boost will Uddin's return make to the squad? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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