Boston United defender Ashley Jackson ready to learn from his 'year of reflection' as Pilgrims prepare to face Brackley Town

Left back finds starts hard to come by following impressive debut season...

Ashley Jackson. Photo: Eric Brown

Ashley Jackson has described this season as a ‘year of reflection’ after finding a place in the Boston United starting XI hard to come by.

However, the 25-year-old defender, is determined to learn from his spell on the sidelines, using the experience to make him a better player.

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Jackson joined the Pilgrims from Ossett Town last summer and made the left back role his own, featuring in 42 of the club’s 46 competitive matches.

But this campaign he has found himself behind former Liverpool trainee Alex Whittle in the pecking order, making 21 appearances and just seven starts before tonight’s contest against Brackley Town.

“I find it tough, really tough this season,” Jackson told The Standard.

“After coming in and doing well last year I wanted to build on that, but it’s a bit of a reflection year, to be fair.

“Seeing what I can do, how he’s performing, what I need to work on. It has given me a little space and time to work on what I needed, my crossing, going forwards.

“That will come when I go get match sharpness back.”

While desperate to feature more, Jackson is willing to look at the bigger picture as United push for National League North glory.

“I can’t complain at that, results, you don't change a winning team at the end of the day,” Jackson added.

“I don’t want to be sour about it, it’s not about that. It’s about Boston getting into the Conference, getting promoted, especially this time of the season.

“It’s a case of being a squad, a good squad.”

In order to play his part when called upon, former Leek Town and Goole player Jackson realises he needs to be match ready at all times, including tonight's fixture at St James' Park, if Whittle is unable to shrug off the injury which ended his contest against Gateshead early last week.

However, he admits that match fitness is tough to muster when the majority of his time is spent in the dug-out.

“It is frustrating. All you want to do is go on and do your best, but you’re not as sharp as you should be. You want to make an impact,” Jackson continued.

“I feet fit enough, I do look after myself. But I don’t feel anything compared to that match fitness.

“It just is what it is this season. That is massively lacking in my eyes for me.”

United head to Brackley Town this evening, looking to pick up three points against their promotion-chasing rivals.

Dominic Knowles scored the only goal of the game as Boston beat the Saints 1-0 at York Street in January.