Thursday 4th August 2016
JAMIE EWINGS had it all mapped out.
His sixth season at Dumbarton was going to be only the second which he started as first choice keeper.
Instead, due to a back injury, he is still stuck on one first-day league start for Sons, in 2013 against Falkirk.
On the other four league opening days, Stephen Grindlay, Danny Rogers and Mark Brown have had the starting gloves.
Jamie, though, knows all too well just how his luck can change – like one January day this year when Brown was ruled out through illness.
He played in the succeeding 0-0 draw with Raith Rovers and, barring a return for Brown which lasted two matches, played the rest of the season.
The highlight was his display in the 1-0 defeat to Rangers when the Ibrox side clinched the Ladbrokes SPFL Championship title.
And once he is over the injury, Jamie is determined to return to the posts he guarded with real ability for Sons over the second half of last season.
He said: “I didn’t see it working out like that. It wasn’t a great start for me with Mark coming in and, as you are expecting, I was on the bench every week.
“It was just a case of getting to January and seeing what was in store. Then I took ill and Mark got the same illness, which led to me getting my chance.
“I did reasonably well, with three clean sheets, then was out of the team for a few games and came back again.
“Football can change at the drop of a hat and everything that happened at the end of last season was a real boost for me.
“I was hopeful of starting this season as first choice as a result, but I will have to wait until my injury has cleared.
“I’ll be back fit and raring to go as soon as possible.”
Jamie admits that, although Rangers are no longer in opposition, the Championship could be a tougher task for Sons this season.
But he sees no reason not to aim high – perhaps higher than some may be predicting for them.
He added: “It will be a tough league again – possibly harder than last year.
“A lot of teams will fancy themselves. Over the last few years it’s been Hibs, Hearts and Rangers manking themselves the favourites, but with Dundee United coming into the league, and Falkirk having a strong end to the season, they will come into it.
“As far as we are concerned, we have to fancy ourselves as well. Maybe not to win the league, but we are a stabilised Championship club on a level with most teams.
“There is no reason not to look to push on towards the play-offs at the top end of the division. It will be hard as a part-time side but the manager has added quality to the squad.”
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