Normal service has resumed for Joe Jacobson.
After spending much of last season as one of the names inked regularly on the teamsheet of manager Graham Turner, the Shrewsbury Town left-back found himself in the unaccustomed position of warming the bench at the start of the League One campaign.
But, after benefitting from Turner ringing the changes in Tuesday’s 4-1 routine victory over Coventry, former Cardiff youngster Jacobson is back in possession of the shirt ahead of tomorrow’s long trip to Hartlepool.
“It’s been frustrating,” admitted the 25-year-old, who made his first league start of the season in Tuesday’s 4-1 triumph over the Sky Blues.
“I played in the Leeds game (in the Capital One Cup) but not since, so it was nice to get back in.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get a clean sheet but I was happy with my performance and it’s something to build on.
“The manager brought in a lot of players in the summer and the competition for places has gone up massively.
“I couldn’t complain I wasn’t in the team but he gave me an opportunity on Tuesday and told me to grab it so hopefully I’ve done that.”
Jacobson admitted being omitted from the starting line-up represents a test of mental strength.
“It’s horrible because all you want to do is play football on a Saturday,” he added.
“You work all week for that to happen and if it doesn’t it’s a downer.
“But it’s a squad game. There are 22 players who will think they should be playing so the 11 out there have to keep their shirts and it’s up to the others to keep pushing them on.
“You just have to keep motivating yourself to make sure you improve. If you keep beating yourself up, your confidence will drop.
“I’ve done extra bits over the last few weeks. Jacko (coach Michael Jackson) has been working a lot with the ones that haven’t been involved and it’s paid off.”
Jacobson’s solid individual contribution against Coventry helped Shrewsbury produce their most convincing victory of 2012 and provided the ideal response to last Saturday’s limp 1-0 defeat to Scunthorpe.
“There is always pressure you put on yourselves, especially after the last two results and knowing we hadn’t done well as a squad,” he added.
“The gaffer made a few changes and we got off to a great start with Darren Jones scoring early. We had a gameplan to press them high up the pitch and it worked well.
“Hopefully we can build on that result and go on a bit of run.
“We knew where we were in the table but one or two wins and you go up five or six places. We’re confident in the squad we can go on a run and beat teams in this division. Coventry are a massive club and we turned them over.”
Town’s attention is now focused on producing a similar performance at Victoria Park tomorrow.
Hartlepool have already been beaten twice 5-0 on the road – at Crewe and Preston – but Jacobson knows the trip to the north east will be a tougher test.
“We need to carry on with the same intensity and work-rate that we did on Tuesday,” he added.
“I’ve played there a few times and it’s usually been a night game when you get back at 3am.
“It’s nice to play there on Saturday. The pitch is usually really good and the fans are tight to the pitch, so we are looking forward to it.”