Jan 24 2013 by Jon Batham, Harrow Observer
JAMES Hammond signalled this week he is in it for the long haul when it comes to the battle for a Wealdstone shirt, writes Jon Batham.
The former Colchester youngster has struggled to hold down a regular spot so far this season after missing the start of the campaign.
He travelled back to his native Ghana for personal reasons and subsequently spent a spell away from The Vale at AFC Hayes to build up his match fitness.
However, while others on the fringes of Gordon Bartlett’s squad have lost patience and sought their footy fix elsewhere, it seems Hammond’s heart belongs to the Stones.
“Wealdstone is a part of me and I feel happy here, so if I had to go out on loan again at some point to get games it would always be with a view to coming back,” he said.
“The loan spell at AFC Hayes was just a chance to go away and play some games, get back my match fitness and my buzz going again and come back to do a job if Gordon needs me.
“It’s a squad game really. Scotty [McCubbin] has been doing really well and we’ve been sitting pretty much top five the whole season, so I’ve just been waiting for my opportunity to come and recently that has happened with a few injuries in the team.
“It is a chance to claim the position as my own, so all I can do is play well and hope it works out for me really.”
The 22-year-old defender who revealed himself to be one of the chief pranksters in The Vale dressing-room is clear the Bartlett factor has played a major part in his desire to remain at Wealdstone.
He added: “To be fair, Gordon, the rest of the management and the fans have all been good to me since I came to the club, so it is not really a place I would want to leave, so patience is the key for me.
“Gordon will tell you about all the pranks I play on him and I’m probably his least favourite when I’ve had a few on a team night out, but he is a friend when you need him and a manager when he needs to tell you where you are going wrong.”