Published: 00:00, 18 April 2019
It's been a massive learning curve for me at Gillingham this season. I thought it would be.
I took my time to get used to the level but when I started playing, I had a good run in the team, I was enjoying it and getting results here and there.
It's been an up and down season but we've got a good group and I definitely feel I've got better from playing with the better players. Now it's about pushing on.
I want to achieve more. The first thing was to get a game, then a goal, then a good run in the team, which I had for a while.
Now it's getting that consistency over a longer period of time and contributing every week. That's what you want to be doing.
It's been a long season with a lot of ups and downs but I've enjoyed it.
I've played 20-odd games. I had a target of 25-30 so I might not hit that but there's been various reasons for that.
I had a couple of injuries and recently we've been in good form and the manager's got every right to keep the same team and as a footballer you've got to accept that sometimes.
You can't sit and sulk, you've got to make sure you're ready because it's a volatile game, anything can happen, injuries, loss of form, so you've got to be professional enough to be able to step in.
That's been one of the hardest things when you've gone from playing week in, week out to not, it's having the mental capacity to keep on top of yourself every week.
It's easy when you're playing because you get in a routine.
When you're not playing it's difficult, especially motivation-wise but I've managed to keep on top of that and the group's good at that as well.
Don't get me wrong, no one wants to be sitting on the sidelines all the time but there's no bad eggs that are going to start kicking off, and that's probably helped as well.
It's all about progression. Are there certain things I wanted to do better? Yes.
I could have scored a couple more goals, you want a few more appearances but you've got to take it as it is and learn from what you didn't do so well and build it into the next year.
There was no pressure on me from the manager to come here and score goals after getting 20 for Bromley last season.
He wasn't saying I want you to score this many goals, he wanted me to come and play my own game.
You come with a reputation and it can get dragged about or people expect you to be a certain type of player.
A lot of times these days, people read things and don't actually watch.
Last year I scored a lot goals but people then assumed I was a No.10 but I didn't score any goals from that position really, I was a centre midfielder by trade that happened to get in the box.
We play a different style that's effective.
Do our midfielders score loads of goals? No, but they do a different job and fortunately we have strikers that have found the back of the net.
There wasn't any pressure from the manager.
He said to express myself and when we've spoken since he's said at the beginning he could see I was adjusting to the level.
He's happy with what I'm doing, it's about forcing my way back into the team and staying there.
The goals will come.
I scored against Burton and Swansea and had other chances.
When you get that run of games the chances come and you're not worried about them not coming again.
But when you're in and out it can be quite difficult because you might miss one and think, 'Oh, I won't have that chance for another few weeks now.’
I wanted a couple more goals but there's still four games left.
If I could get to five or six that wouldn't be a bad return and then you build on it for next season and get to double figures.
It's dependent on the job the manager wants you to do.
He might want you to sacrifice that in order to be more solid.
That's something we've done in the last few weeks as a team.
At the beginning of the season we were very much a gung-ho team and attacking-wise we looked very good but we were quite open.
Recently, we've looked way more solid and it's helped us.
We look more likely to keep clean sheets and it's picked us up points.
There's a lot more to come from me. I'm glad I got the couple of goals and a few appearances on the bounce but I've by no means cracked it.
I want to do it over a consistent period of time now, a much longer period.
In any walk of life, you go into a new environment and it's abou finding yourself in that environment and now I feel comfortable, it's about thriving.
I don't just want to be sitting on the sidelines feeling comfortable, I want to be pushing and contributing more because you can see what it does for the team.
It's such a good feeling when you do that, especially the goal at Burton, which got us three points.
You look at how the league is at the moment and every point is crucial, so if you can contribute, it makes you feel better about yourself.
That season in non-league with Bromley helped me massively. It's different now to what it was.
There's definitely a step up to League 1 but the standard is good, it's pretty much professional now.
We've played Slough and Hartlepool in the FA Cup this season and they gave us real tough games.
It is different but the quality is good and it's probably underestimated.
It gave me a good platform to play games.
I knew deep down I was probably better than the level but you can't be ahead of yourself, you've got to respect the league you're in and earn your move to the Football League.
There are loads of players at that level who are probably too good for the National League and deserve a chance in the league but it doesn't mean you can just go there and think to yourself, 'OK, I'm too good for this.'
You've got to work hard and earn it and I think I did that, I earned my stripes, but at the same time I really enjoyed it.
Every game was competitive, it was relentless and that put me in good stead for this season. You can't let your standards drop.
More by this authorCraig Tucker