Kelvin Langmead has admitted that he’s found it “tough” sitting on the sidelines in recent weeks, describing his return to a Harrogate Town shirt at Chesterfield as a “great feeling”.
The vastly-experienced central defender, who had not featured for the club since a 2-1 loss at Sutton United in early January, was re-called by Simon Weaver for Saturday’s trip to the Proact Stadium and more than vindicated his selection.
Thirty three-year-old Langmead produced a man-of-the-match performance at the heart of Town’s back four, helping them keep a clean-sheet for the first time in 21 attempts.
“It has been pretty tough,” he said.
“I’ve been disappointed not to be involved and had to be patient. You train all week then find yourself sat in the stand on a Saturday.
“You have two choices when you’re in that situation. You can get a strop on, down tools and just go through the motions in training or you can get your head down and keep grafting.
“I always believed that I would get another opportunity, so my mindset was just about making sure I was ready when the chance came.
“I wanted to be mentally and physically right, so I’ve trained hard, made sure I’ve been eating right and kept on top of all the things I need to do to ensure that I’m as fit as I can be.
“I’ve prepared every day as if I was going to be starting on the Saturday, and fortunately things went well enough when I did get back in.”
Langmead showed no signs of rust at Chesterfield, pairing up with Callum Howe in the centre of the Town defence to great effect as the men from Wetherby Road ground out a 1-0 victory.
“It was a great feeling to be back, there’s nothing quite like it,” the ex-Shrewsbury Town and Northampton Town defender added.
“I’ve obviously not played 90 minutes in a while, so it was physically tough, but having a lead to hold on to always helps carry you through the latter stages of the game.
“Mine and Cal [Howe]’s thinking was let’s just get back to doing what we were doing during the early part of the season and defend at all costs.
“We did the basics right. We covered one another and looked after each other and as a team we defended for our lives. Chesterfield threw a lot at us, but we limited to them to very few clear chances.
“There’s no exact science to keeping a clean-sheet, but on this occasion I think that the early goal helped settle us all down. We were organised, we communicated well and the energy levels were good.
“It was just one of those games where everything went right and in the end we’ve produced probably the perfect away performance.”
Having helped his team record a long-overdue shut-out, Langmead is hopeful of keeping his place in coming weeks as Town look to cement their position in the National League play-off places.
“Of course I hope that I’ll keep my place, but you’d have to ask the manager as that’s his decision,” he added.
“From my point of view, I feel that I’ve helped us get a massive result and a clean-sheet that was so important for the team.
“Hopefully I’ve done enough to keep myself at the forefront of the gaffer’s thoughts when he’s picking the team.
“We’re heading into the final straight now and we want to cement our place in the play-offs and try and move on up the table.
“March is a crazy month in terms of the amount of fixtures to be played, and we know that if we hit good form during this period then we can pick up a lot of points. Who knows how high we can end up.”