Published: 06:00, 29 November 2019
Spare a thought for Sam Corne when Maidstone go to Blackpool in the FA Cup on Sunday.
The midfielder hasn't completely given up on making the bench at Bloomfield Road.
But it seems unlikely given he's been out since the end of September with a knee injury picked up in the process of scoring his first Stones goal.
That came in a 4-0 win over St Albans, which was also his best performance for the club, but he hasn't featured since after a scan showed a sprained ligament in the back of his knee.
He's proud of his team-mates' run to the second round but would love to have been involved.
Corne said: "It's frustrating because I was getting into a run of form and the boys were doing well.
"To get injured and be out in this period, it's not nice, especially with the cup run.
"You're sitting there trying to be part of it but in a way you're not because you're not showing your worth on the pitch.
"The boys have been supportive, everyone has, and I'm proud of what they've done."
The injury has proved more troublesome than imagined and it's still not right.
Corne added: "I've been running and jumping, the only thing I struggle with is kicking a ball.
"Every time I go to strike it fully I seem to have pain in the knee and it causes me discomfort.
"It might be a case of managing it and seeing it how it goes.
"The last two weeks I've been out on the pitch doing running and getting my general fitness back but it's touch and go at the minute.
"I don't know if I'm fit enough to be included at Blackpool but I'm hoping to travel and I'll support the boys either way.
"It's catch 22 because you want to play but you don't want to do more damage or be a waste of a sub.
"You've got to be honest and the boys are more than capable of getting a result."
Injury may have halted his progress but Corne, who used to play for Welling and Braintree, is glad he’s stepped back up to National League South.
He attracted interest from Maidstone after scoring more than 20 goals for Ashford in Isthmian South East last season.
“It’s been good, training every day is what you dream of really,” said Corne.
“You’re in a professional environment and you go about your business throughout the week.
“All in all it’s been a good decision to step up.
“Technically there’s not much between the leagues, it’s the game understanding and the players are more switched on.
“Those fine margins in football are more important, like second balls and tracking runners, whereas when you go down the leagues there might be good players but a lot of goals do occur through people not following runners and getting lazy.”
Corne knew Stones head coach Hakan Hayrettin from Braintree and has enjoyed getting to know head of football John Still.
He said: “Hak’s always been good to me, he always gives me little bits of info.
“It’s my first time working with Stilly and I’ve really enjoyed it.
“He’s got bundles of knowledge and he tries to pass it on to the boys to make us better and get the results we want as a team. Every day we’re learning new things.”
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More by this authorCraig Tucker