Colos­sal Chap­man up for the chal­lenge

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Fran­cis Sum­mers

AARON Chap­man did not be­gin play­ing com­pet­i­tive football un­til the end of his teenage years, but to­day will walk out in front of a tele­vised au­di­ence when Bristol Rovers welcome Ox­ford United to the Me­mo­rial Sta­dium.

Apart from the odd game at school, Chap­man did not play football un­til his break­through with Goole and, later, Park­gate.

The 6ft 7in stop­per’s dis­plays caught the eye of Ch­ester­field in 2011. How­ever, a trial at Nor­wich City saw them end their in­ter­est, as­sum­ing he was on his way to a per­ma­nent deal at Car­row Road.

But it wasn’t un­til he showed up at Belper Town in the North­ern Premier League Di­vi­sion One South dur­ing the 2012-13 cam­paign that the Spire­ites re­alised he hadn’t ac­tu­ally joined the Ca­naries.

Ch­ester­field signed him in 2013, just be­fore his 23rd birth­day and af­ter tem­po­rary spells at Ch­ester and Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley, where in­jury ruled him out for nine months, he signed for Rovers on a one-month loan deal.

“I was play­ing a lit­tle bit through school and the odd week­end with mates, but noth­ing con­crete,” said the 25-year-old.

“The hard­est bit for me when I went pro was train­ing ev­ery day due to the af­fect on your body.

“I kept get­ting lit­tle nig­gles and in­juries but af­ter a cou­ple of months I got used to it.”

Chap­man has played ev­ery minute since he joined and will al­most cer­tainly be in goal against Ox­ford on Sun­day in front of the Sky Sports cam­eras.

It has been an ideal start for a player who missed the ma­jor­ity of last sea­son due to an ‘an­kle dis­or­der’.

“I am just happy to be play­ing games again and I want to get back to win­ning (af­ter the 2-0 de­feat to Ley­ton Ori­ent),” Chap­man added.“The gaffer (Dar­rell Clarke) has Rovers play­ing well, they have been to­gether a long time now and they have a mas­sive chance to do very well.

“There is a win­ning men­tal­ity here and when you have that it is easy to set­tle in.

“You al­ways look for­ward to games but af­ter a loss it gives you that bit ex­tra as you want to bounce back.”

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