Dougie Brydon has emerged as a rising star with Berwick this season, but now he is facing the prospect of a spell on the sidelines.
Brydon, 24, was until recently a near ever-present in Ian Little’s side, only missing out on a glamour trip to Ibrox to face Rangers because of suspension.
But just as Berwick have started to get into their stride, launching a late push for a play-off place, the Duns-based central defender finds himself relegated to the role of spectator with a niggling groin injury. And it’s not a situation which fits easily.
“I am absolutely gutted at having to miss these crucial games in the fight for a place in the play-offs. I’m not a very good spectator and miss being on the pitch doing my bit.” he said.
“We have a good squad and I know the lads are capable of finishing in the top four but we have some tough games ahead so I just hope my injury clears up in time for me to play a part. I am due to see a specialist this week so hopefully I will know a bit more after that.
“At the moment it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. All I want is to get back on the pitch as soon as possible.”
Brydon says the step-up from East of Scotland to Scottish Third Division has been a major move and at times he has found it difficult.
“Probably the main difference playing in the SFL has been having to keep up my level of concentration during matches,” he said. “You just can’t afford to switch off for a minute, you have to be completely focussed on your game. In saying that I am really enjoying the challenge.”
Before joining Berwick last summer, Brydon had the chance to join Ayr or Livingston full-time, but opted instead for his local club.
“It was great to hear that clubs such as these were expressing an interest in me while I was at Duns,” he said. “I had already made up my mind that if I was going to play at a higher level, now was the time and when I knew that Berwick Rangers were interested my mind was made up straight away.
“It’s a very good standard in the SFL and Berwick being my local team played a big factor in my decision. I also had to take into consideration my work commitments.
“Of course it means a great deal to me to be a local lad playing for my local team. However, it does add a little bit more pressure but it is a great honour to be given the chance to play for Berwick Rangers. The support I have received from friends and family and other local people has been absolutely brilliant.”
Ironically, this is not the Borderers first spell at Shielfield. For the former Hutchinson Vale player was on the books at Shielfield once before, playing for the Reserves.
That was in the days when Jimmy Crease was manager of the first team, but unfortunately, despite some calls for him to be given his chance, things didn’t work out as he had hoped, and he reverted back to the East of Scotland with his home town club, Duns.
Second time around things have worked out a lot differently. Brydon started the season to some rave reviews, being linked with a host of clubs including Stoke, Sunderland and Leeds.
“I was pleased with the way I settled in during my first few games and I suppose I was under a bit of pressure to keep up high standards week after week. But that is something you have got to aim for - be at your best as much as you possibly can. You do get used to it and I try to give 100 per cent every week.
“It’s always nice knowing that some of the big clubs are watching you and expressing an interest but I tried not to think about it too much or let it affect my game.
“Of course, if the right move comes along then I will be interested but until it does I am fully committed to Berwick Rangers Football Club. I am very happy playing at Berwick and I am enjoying my football.”
So what is it like playing under the rookie management team of Ian Little and Robbie Horn?
“Yano and Robbie are great,” he said. “They have got us playing some very attractive football, probably some of the best football in the Third Division. Their training and coaching is of a very high standard and I personally think they could go on to form a very successful partnership.
“We have believed since day one that we are good enough to make the play-offs and I think our performances have proved that. I believe that in the games we have lost we have been the better team at times. Our results have picked up recently and we are now right back in the play-off picture. We are ready to fight to the bitter end.
“We have a few massive games coming up which will decide our season, but we definitely have a squad which is capable of doing the job.”
Away from football Brydon is a keen rally driver, but he says that for the time being he has put that on hold.
“I will definitely be back in the driver’s seat one day,” he said, “but right now I am just concentrating on playing for Berwick while I can.”
Earlier this season Brydon missed the opportunity to play in front of 45,000 fans at Ibrox.
For weeks he was teetering on the brink of suspension because of the number of bookings he had picked up and as luck would have it the only game he missed was against Rangers.
“Gutted was an understatement,” he said. “But that’s football. The lads did brilliant up there but, fingers crossed I am fit and available in May when we are due back there again on the last day of the season”
Whether or not he makes that now remains to be seen.