Owain Fon Williams recalled an old goalkeeping tip from hero Neville Southall as he revealed his struggles with life on the bench at Hamilton.
The 32-year-old Wales cap signed for Accies from Inverness last June but lost his place in the side in November to Luke Southwood, who was recruited on loan from Reading last August.
The 22-year-old has now gone back to the Madejski Stadium although Hamilton manager Brian Rice has not yet given up on him returning for another loan spell.
Fon Williams admits the challenge of keeping positive when benched is difficult and draws on the words of former Everton keeper Southall, who won 92 caps for Wales and whose career spanned two decades from his Bury debut in 1980.
The former Stockport, Rochdale and Tranmere keeper said of life on the sidelines: “It is very tough. Not easy, especially at this part of my career, it is very difficult.
“It has been challenging mentally, there is no two ways about that.
“But I am very professional in what I do, I don’t change anything, I train as hard as I always did.
“The biggest challenge is to stay positive.
“When I was about 17, Neville Southall, one of the greatest goalkeepers we had in Wales, at one stage probably the best in the world, said to me that 90 per cent of your game is played in your head and 10 per cent is your game.
“A lot of my colleagues in the changing room might not know this or know of him, which surprises me every time but which shows you how old I am getting I suppose .
“At the time, when I was a kid, I didn’t really know what he was talking about but this is a guy who was at the time the highest capped player for Wales and who had been the best goalkeeper in the world at one stage.
“It has always lived with me.
“That sums up how it is to be a goalkeeper. Everything is in your head.
“That is a small thing, that football is tough, there are ups and downs.”
Fon Williams is sticking with his principles while he waits for another chance from Rice.
He said: “The most important thing is the team, it is important we maximise ourselves and that means winning the game.
“That’s number one.
“On the personal side of things you need to stay as positive as you can to motivate and push people on to make sure they are comfortable and ready to play.
“Obviously we all want to play, it is the name of the game, that is why we are here.
“I continue to believe in myself and I continue to train as hard as I can like I always do.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.