Published: 06:00, 10 September 2021
The body aches for a couple of days after matches but Jay May soldiers on at Ashford United - helped by an arrangement with his manager.
Nuts & Bolts boss Tommy Warrilow lets May decide when he’s able to train, such is the trust he has in his big striker, who’s back at Homelands this season after a spell at Romford.
At 35, May knows his body and if missing training means his back will get through 90 minutes on a Saturday, that’s no problem for Warrilow.
“I’ve had a couple of niggles and I do struggle a bit with the back but I’ve managed to get through the games,” said May.
“It’s harder to get yourself right as you get older but the main thing is to manage the games.
“I miss training when I need to and that’s why Ashford suits me perfectly. I’ve known Tom for years and he knows it’s not that I don’t want to train.
“If I say I’m not going to train, it’s for a genuine reason.
“I’ll still go in on a Thursday for a bit of treatment so I’m there with the boys.
“I do feel it when I get up on a Sunday, I’ve got to be honest, and Monday’s probably worse. I go into work and my business partner’s like, ‘You’re in bits’.
“You want to get up and move around - a bit of WD40 loosens me up again!
“I’ve been around the block and I know my body.
“I know what I can and can’t do and if I say to Tom I’m not training, he’ll say, ‘Yeah, fair enough, as long as you’re good for Saturday,’ and that’s ideal for me.”
May, who first worked with Warrilow more than a decade ago at Tonbridge, believes his manager has struck the right balance as Ashford look to get out of Isthmian South East.
Unbeaten after three games, they visit Whitehawk this Saturday and host Kent rivals Herne Bay on Tuesday.
“Tom’s very much similar to how he’s always been in that he knows how he wants to play and everything’s done right, and OB (assistant boss Alex O’Brien) is the same,” said May.
“I’ve always liked working with them.
“I wouldn’t say anything radical has changed.
“The shape of the team might have changed a little with the modern formations but Tom always seems to stick two up front, which I like, and I think it gets the best out of me with the way I play.
“He likes us to get on the ball but we don’t overplay. Some teams get caught out trying to play this Man City style but we’re not at that level.
“It’s great to see, pop, pop, pop and a decent goal but sometimes it’s more effective to drop things in.
“I’m not talking about smashing balls up the pitch, I’m talking balls with quality in behind. You need that balance and I think we’ve got that.
“Tom’s not one to go shouting his mouth off saying we should get promoted but within the dressing room we’ve got to believe we’re good enough, or what’s the point?
“For me personally the goal is the play-offs at the absolute minimum with the side we’ve got.
“We’ve just got to take it week by week.
“We’ve had a good start - two wins a draw - but I don’t feel we’ve really got going yet.”