Eastbourne Borough’s Gary Hart is eager to impress in 2012 after his double helped his team to a battling draw at home to Dover on Monday.
Hart, 33, admitted it was a timely boost for the club and for him personally as he struck his first league goals since Boro’s 4-1 league victory against East Thurrock in September.
Despite two decent draws against a big-spending Dover side, managed by Hart’s former Brighton team-mate Nicky Forster, Hart insists the team still has plenty to prove for the remainder of the league campaign, starting at Maidenhead tomorrow.
He said, “It was good for me personally to get on the scoresheet but it was a much better performance from the lads.
“We are starting to battle and work hard all over the pitch and that’s what we have to do. Football is about hard work and if you do that you always give yourself a chance.
“When I won the league with Brighton it was because we had a group players who were up for the match every week. We were not the best side in the league but no one worked harder that us.
“You can’t go out there and play like a Beckham or Messi every week - this league is not about that.
“We are now starting to realise that. I just wish we had started the season in the same way.
“We have to prove ourselves in 2012. I don’t think we should be thinking about the play-offs, we still need to make sure our attitude and performances are right for each game.”
Hart struggled for fitness and form at the start of the season after he ruptured a vertebrae in his neck during a pre-season friendly.
The operation to fix the problem was successful but after returning to the side Hart suffered a few tumbles which aggravated the injury.
“I had to have the operation but it was touch and go at one point if would play again and I think that played on my mind a bit.
“I don’t think I was playing at full tilt as I was worried about causing permanent damage.
“But lately it feels okay. I’m 100 per cent fit and hopefully I can get a good run in the team and try and get a few more goals as well.”
The two points gained during the festive period fixtures with Dover may have added a touch of confidence to the side but it changes very little in the league standings.
Garry Wilson’s side are 14th in the Blue Square South and remain a long way off challenging for a play-off position.
But Hart insists the season is far from over and wants to see his team-mates play to their full potential during the second half of the campaign.
“We are a good squad and for whatever reason we are not quite in the position we are hoping for. We know there is pressure on the team and the manager to get results but you will always get that in football.
“I have learnt over the years to get your head down and get your own game in order and make sure that you are performing properly on match days.
“I am playing for a new contract. I want to be at this club next season and I know I have a lot to prove for the rest of the season.
“The other players should be thinking the same and taking responsibility for their own performances and show the manager they can be part of the future of this club.”
Meanwhile, Boro’ winger Matt Crabb will hope to make his 501st appearance for the side at Maidenhead after hitting the 500 milestone against Dover on Monday.
Crabb said, “It was great to hit the 500 mark and I’m very proud of that. During that time the club has allowed me develop as a player as we rose up the divisions. I was a County League player but thanks to Gaz (Garry Wilson) and Nick (Greenwood) I have had the chance to improve and play at the highest level of non-league football. I have to thank them for that.
“There are a few us at the club who have risen up through the ranks and it’s nice to feel as though you have played a part in helping to move the club forward.”
“Darren Baker is way out there on 900 and something and that will never be beaten but I hope I can still do a job here for a couple more seasons. If I can stay away from injuries, then hopefully I can get up to the 600 mark.
“We have an important run of games coming up and we have to keep working hard .”