KENT Kauppinen has proved that patience is definitely one of his virtues as he prepares to go into the new season as Chippenham Town’s first-choice goalkeeper.
The 22-year-old former Swindon Supermarine man linked up with the Bluebirds in January last year but was forced to bide his time as Ben John occupied the space between the sticks.
Keeper Kauppinen, who lives just minutes away from Hardenhuish Park, even spent time playing out on pitch for Corsham Town in a bid to stay match sharp, with his Chippenham debut not coming until April, but insists that he had no problem waiting in the wings for his opportunity.
“It’s the same as football at any level at the end of the day. If a manager brings you in and he sits you on the bench, you sit on the bench,” said Kauppinen.
“He’s the one who says what you do and you’ve got to respect that – so obviously I did, luckily enough he gave me a chance, and I took it.
“I knew that Johnsey was doing well when I joined, so he kept his position. I trained, I was patient and I never nagged (Collier), and then they had a run of three or four bad games and Mark said ‘here’s your opportunity’.
“If I’m sat on the bench for six or seven weeks, I get physically unfit, so I needed to play last season. Mark turned round to me a few weeks in a row and said ‘Johnsey will be playing’ so I said ‘that’s fine, so I’ll go get my fitness somewhere else, if you’re happy for me to play for Corsham’.
“It was a bit of fun really but I won’t be doing that this year because I know that score here.”
Chippenham’s pre-season has also handed Kauppinen plenty optimism over the Bluebirds’ chances of a successful season in the Southern League Premier Division.
He said: “I think the lads have done well. We’ve all gelled really well and been very kitted and strong as a team.
“I think we’ll do well and with what we’ve got, I’d happily say that we could push for top eight. We need to try and get three points on Saturday and hit the ground running.”
MORE SPORTS NEWS, PICTURES AND REACTION IN THIS THURSDAY’S GAZETTE AND HERALD. FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @gazsport