"I can still do a job for Notts," says midfielder Gavin Mahon
GAVIN Mahon was cold. Freezing, in fact. But then, it is not a new feeling for the midfielder this season.
He has been out in the cold at Notts County since August, surprisingly.
Mahon has not started one league game for the Magpies this season. Not one. And yet he was such a key figure for the club only last season, his first at Meadow Lane, making 23 starts in League One as they came so close to finishing in the play-offs.
Talk about a stark contrast.
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Sat in the away dugout at Rotherham United after making a rare start in the FA Cup, he reflected on it all; his fierce frustration, the form of Andre Boucaud that has kept him out and, above all else, his determination to force his way back into the first team.
"It was good to be back out there with the boys. I've missed that," he began.
"It's a new thing for me to deal with because I've always played wherever I've been in my career until now. But I'm getting old now aren't I so I have to accept it."
His sarcasm was obvious. He is, quite clearly, not ready to accept being on the subs' bench even though he is 35.
"It's a big difference to last season," he went on. "It's frustrating because I had one or two other offers in the summer, but I get on with Curley (Keith Curle) and he said he wanted me to stay and we managed to get a contract sorted out.
"But he's brought Andre in and he's been one of our most consistent players so sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say 'the lads are doing well'.
"I spoke to the gaffer the other week and asked him if I am still a big part of his plans and he said 'yes', which was reassuring."
So reassured in fact that Mahon turned down two opportunities to leave Meadow Lane on loan deadline day at the end of last month.
League Two clubs Port Vale and Bristol Rovers both made approaches to Notts, but he prefers to stay and fight for a place, for now at least, though he will assess his future again in January.
Notts are glad he stayed too, because Boucaud suffered an ankle injury in their last home game against Swindon Town just two days later and was sidelined for their second round Cup tie at Rotherham, giving Mahon the chance he craved in a 1-1 draw.
He could now get another opportunity if Boucaud, who is on loan at Meadow Lane until the new year from non-league Luton Town, is still not fit when Notts go to Yeovil Town in League One tomorrow.
Mahon is hopeful, rather than expectant, that he will be in the starting XI at Huish Park.
"Thankfully the gaffer put me in for the cup, but we'll have to wait and see this week now," he added.
"I know a 100 per cent fit Gavin Mahon can still do a job in this division, so if I can get match fit by getting one or two games under my belt then hopefully I can get fitter, stronger and help the team on."
The Magpies will be protecting a record 20-game unbeaten away run against the Glovers.
They are also sixth in League One, just five points behind joint-leaders Tranmere Rovers and Doncaster Rovers, while Yeovil are 12th.
"The gaffer has done well to put together the squad we've got," said Mahon. "He's cut the budget from last season and yet we're a stronger squad.
"I've seen most teams in this league now – and I've had a good chance to look at them from the bench!
"There are not that many outstanding teams that we can't go and dominate and beat, home and away, so fingers crossed we will be there or thereabouts.
"We should be with the quality we have got."
And with that, he exited down the tunnel and to a far warmer place. He now hopes to come in from the cold.