A year is a long time in football. A lot can happen in even a few months.
For Alfie May, this was always going to be a special campaign – his first full season as a professional.
It started so well with four goals in his first five games and regular starts.
But a hernia issue stopped him in his tracks, robbing him of two months of football.
And he has struggled to reach the same levels of form since.
What started as a dream season for a striker who was playing tier eight football a few months before has become one of frustration – which perfectly demonstrates how far he has come.
But he says he is fighting every day to win the battle for game time with John Marquis, Alfie Beestin, Andy Williams and Alex Kiwomya.
“It’s obviously very important to play,” he told the Free Press.
“But I’m fighting every day to get my shirt back.
“I want to be playing but Alex and John have been superb.
“And Alfie Beestin has been excellent.
“The four strikers, and with Willo coming back it’s five, it’s a good test for everyone.
“We’re all trying to fight for the same shirt.
“I’m going to try in training and in Under 23 games when I get minutes to try to get the shirt back between now and the end of the season.”
May has praised Darren Ferguson for aiding his development since his switch from Hythe Town last January.
And he says the Rovers boss has been a source of encouragement during his battle for a start.
“He’s just told me to keep working hard,” May said,
“Hopefully I get another shot at it and I can keep the shirt.
“The injury that I got took a big effect on me.
“I’ve never really been injured like that before, with nine weeks out of play.
“Before that I was flying in my first season in pro football.
“I can’t dwell on that and I’m just working hard to get back.”
The 24-year-old has volunteered on several occasions to play for the club’s Under 23 side in order to keep himself match sharp.
It is a move that has demonstrated to his manager his commitment to improve and be ready when called upon.
And he is keen to grasp any chance he is afforded over what will be a busy final few weeks of the season.
“I’m waiting for that call to play again for the first team but I’m just going to keep my head down and working hard to be ready,” he said.
“If I get in the team, I want to stay in there and get some goals.
“It’s three points in every game now. We want to finish the season strongly, maybe top half of the table.
“It’d be a good achievement for us.”
Reflecting on his first full season as a professional footballer, May speaks with pride over the position in which he finds himself.
But there is a clear determination to make sure this proves to be only the start of his career.
He said: “I’ve really, really enjoyed it.
“I’m not going to stop now. I want to be the best I can be and want to reach as high as I can.
“It’s the working hard thing and the mental side of things. You need to be strong.
“The injury I got knocked me back a little bit but you have to learn to deal with things like that.
“It’s learning the lifestyle.
“I go in training every day with a smile on my face because it’s something I have dreamed of all my life.
“I still sit at home thinking ‘wow, I’m a pro footballer.
“It still amazes me and I don’t want it to end.”