START­ING ALL OVER

How Sam Slo­combe’s re­cov­ered from a bad break at Ox­ford United

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Nick Lough

YOU never know what’s around the cor­ner in foot­ball – but Sam Slo­combe couldn’t have en­vis­aged 2015 tak­ing the turns it has.

A home­town hero, Slo­combe was Scun­thorpe United’s club cap­tain and undis­puted num­ber one. An ed­u­cated man with a foun­da­tion de­gree from the Univer­sity of Lin­coln, Slo­combe seemed to have it all and many ex­pected the shot­stop­per to spend the best years of his ca­reer be­tween the posts at Glan­ford Park.

Break

But on Jan­uary 17, Slo­combe and fel­low goal­keeper James Sev­ern both suf­fered bro­ken arms dur­ing a bizarre League One match with Bris­tol City, with the for­mer snap­ping his ulna af­ter awk­wardly punch­ing a ball to safety.

That was to be the 27-year-old’s fi­nal game for the club he had spent the last seven years play­ing for, with Iron boss Mark Robins making the de­ci­sion not to re­new his cap­tain’s con­tract.

Slo­combe told The FLP:“I was a lit­tle bit dis­ap­pointed not to be in­volved in match day squads to­wards the end of the sea­son. It was my home­town club, we had grown over the past few years as a

squad and it was an hon­our to be­come club cap­tain.”

But they say that ev­ery cloud has a sil­ver lin­ing and a move to Ox­ford United, al­beit a di­vi­sion lower, has got his juices flow­ing.

“Foot­ball is strange; you can only play for the teams that want to sign you,” said Slo­combe.“I felt I needed a change and it was a good time for me ca­reer-wise and for my part­ner with some great work op­por­tu­ni­ties for her.

“Peo­ple might think it’s a step down for me but the qual­ity we have in the squad and the project the club have over the next few years could see us knock­ing on the door at the top end of League One.

Ex­pe­ri­ence

“I don’t know whether I would still be at Scun­thorpe if I hadn’t been in­jured, but it hap­pens in foot­ball and you have to ac­cept it. At the age of 27, it’s a good time to go and see a dif­fer­ent part of the coun­try and ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing dif­fer­ent.

“It’s eas­ier to walk away when you know you have other op­tions and peo­ple want you. If it was later on in my ca­reer it could have been dif­fer­ent be­cause you’re not look­ing at a club change, you could be look­ing at a ca­reer change.”

And Slo­combe is get­ting to understand how man­ager Michael Ap­ple­ton op­er­ates as he beds in at the U’s. He added:“I’m al­ways wait­ing for the gaffer to blow his top a bit more be­cause he al­ways looks like he will, but he doesn’t!

“He’s very calm and col­lected but he doesn’t pull any punches. If he thinks you’re not play­ing well, he’ll tell you.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

WAY FOR­WARD: Sam Slo­combe in his new colours and, inset, saving for Scun­thorpe against Black­burn

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