Hall thankful for 'second chance'
Returning midfielder Asa Hall is determined to make the most of the second chance given to him by faithful manager Gary Johnson. Hall spent the whole of the last season on the sidelines, and had gone 387 days without making a first team start since the 9th August 2014 against Bury when he suffered the injury, until Monday when he played 73 minutes in Cheltenham’s 2-1 win against Wrexham. "I’ve been given a second chance, it’s been a lot of hard work but to finally be ready and in the gaffer’s thoughts is more than I’d hoped for really,” he said. "I just tried to do as much as I could, I knew it would be difficult to break into that starting XI, but when opportunities arise you also need a bit of luck to get into the team, in this case it was George’s red card.”
Although he only joined in 2014, Hall is one of Cheltenham’s longest serving players along with Lee Vaughan, who has also spent a period of time on the sidelines. The centre midfielder admitted it would be hard to break into Johnson’s new look XI, despite being a player with good experience and the talent to match. “It’s been difficult in terms of proving myself, and it’s been in the back of my mind, new manager, he could say I’m not part of his plans and after being out so long I wouldn’t really have any argument against that,"
Although he did not start any of the first six games, Hall came off the bench in all of them, and made a great impact.
"It’s been good gelling in, the lads he’s brought in are really good, I’ve been sat watching reading how people play, so when I came in it was easy to play my game,” Hall said. "It’s not always easy having to sit on the bench and think “when am I coming on?”, but it does give you more of an insight watching the lads first, then you can join in after.”
Cheltenham currently sit in 5th position in the table, occupying the final play-off spot on goal difference. The Robins lie six points behind Forest Green Rovers who have set the pace with an impressive seven consecutive wins, and Hall insists there’s still more to come from the team. "There’s a lot more to come, we’re all gelling together and there’s a good atmosphere around the camp, I’m sure we’ll build on it more and more,” Hall said. "It’s nice to be part of a team that’s winning, that’s three on the bounce now and that’s always going to give a little extra in the changing room and it’s all looking positive at the moment.”
Perhaps most crucially, Hall said at the end of his interview: "The doom and gloom from last year has gone."