Michael Timlin spoke exclusively to our matchday programme, Blues, on Saturday for the Cheltenham game
A one-to-one chat with boss Phil Brown last month may be one of the main reasons behind midfielder Michael Timlin’s excellent run of form for Blues.
The 28-year-old has been making his way back gradually from a broken leg suffered against Leyton Orient in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Area Final last February.
He has now started Blues’ last five games in an advanced midfield role, but admits he has had to overcome a mental challenge to rediscover the form he was showing before the horrific injury.
Tims felt he had recovered physically around the start of the season, but having suffered the first leg break of his career, he believes mentally it has taken him until recently to regain his confidence on the pitch.
He is now delighted to be back starting games and having a major influence on the pitch putting behind him both the injury, and also what proved to be a testing summer for the former Fulham trainee.
Speaking exclusively to the club’s matchday programme, Blues, Tims said: “I think it all stems back to a chat I had with the manager around October time. I think I was maybe trying too hard to impress and pushing myself too hard because I wanted to be back in the side playing games again.
“The gaffer just said to be to relax and start enjoying my football again and after that I seemed to get back to how I was before the injury. It’s the first time I’ve suffered an injury like I did and I was getting frustrated at not feeling 100 percent.
“I’d recovered physically in really good time and was well ahead of schedule, as I usually am when I’m out injured but this time it was different. I don’t think I was prepared mentally and it was still playing on my mind.
“Sometimes it takes one big tackle or scoring a goal, but for me, the talk I had with the manager was a massive help. The belief he has shown in me since day one has been brilliant and it’s played a big role in getting me back out there on a regular basis now.
“Obviously when the gaffer came in I was always on the treatment table, but he’d come to me and ask me different questions and wanted my opinion which for me was brilliant, because I do like to take a more senior role.
“I guess the early part of this season was my chance to show him what I could do. The other lads had that chance towards the end of last season and maybe I was putting too much pressure on myself, but that talk helped me relax and I’m now really enjoying my football, playing week in week out since I got my chance against Mansfield Town.”
It wasn’t just the injury, which impacted Timlin, he also endured a difficult summer, but says he has learned from his mistake. He is now out to repay the faith shown in him by his family, friends, teammates, fans, club and the manager.
He added: “I was really worried that my rehabilitation would be affected by everything that went on in the summer but thankfully it didn’t have too much of an impact.
“I accepted responsibility for all that went on and spoke with the club and the manager who knew everything that had happened, I was completely open and honest with them. They stuck by me and were really supportive so I couldn’t ask for much more from them.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with the fans here at Southend and they know the type of person I am and I’d like to think they see me as a gentleman. Everyone around me stuck by me and that was so important. I can’t thank everyone enough for their support.”
Now back in the side, Timlin is one of the more experienced heads in the squad. He made his 100th appearance for Blues in the 2-1 win against York City here at Roots Hall last weekend, and hopes there’s many more appearances and wins to come.
The midfielder admits he sometimes has to be reminded by Graham Coughlan that he is a player, not a coach, but Timlin says he would love to be a manager or a coach once his playing days do come to an end.
“I’m quite a thinker and sometimes I do too much thinking and start trying to be a coach and Cocko just tells me to enjoy my playing days because they don’t last forever,” Tims added.
“Even last season I was one of the older lads but we did have a more experienced squad. I’ve been very impressed by the youngsters here at the club, and having played with Jack Payne quite a lot in behind-closed-doors game, there’s some real talent coming through.
“I watched Jack quite a bit in the youth team last season and I’d give him some money or a pair of boots if he scored because he was playing up front for them – he’s a real prospect.
“Coaching is something I would love to get into and eventually I’d love to become a manager. I really do think I will have a good career once I end my playing days because I want to fulfil my full potential as a coach/manager that maybe I haven’t quite done as a player.”
Timlin has good few years left playing though, and he’d love to be playing in League 1 with Blues next season and says the experience of the previous two seasons will stand the side in good stead. “Obviously we went close in the play-offs during my first full season here. We were in the top three for most of the season and I think falling away really knocked our confidence as a squad.
“There’s a few of us still here from then and I think we’ll all use the experience we gained that season this time around. We will just be focusing on each game, not looking at the league table, but I’m confident this squad is good enough to win promotion this time around.
“Missing out on the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final personally and failing to get into the play-offs last season was tough to take. It’s my third full season at the club and it would be great to finally win promotion – third time lucky, you could say.”