Max Sanders hasn’t featured as much for the Imps as he’d like, but on the occasions we have seen him, he’s impressed me.
Last week, I wrote a piece about him, hoping he’d get more game time. Since then he’s twice appeared as a sub, and is almost certain to start this weekend against Bowers & Pitsea. He’s the subject of the programme interview this week, and as a result, I got to chat to him about his time with the Imps so far.
“Since I’ve come in I haven’t got going, I’ve had niggling injuries that have halted any momentum that I’ve got going,” said the 22-year-old. “I’m feeling good now, I’m in a good place and I want to show what I can do. I’ve had to be patient because players have been performing whilst I’ve been injured.
“I’m fit now, and the more I’ll play, the better I’ll be. I just want to play week in, week out and I want to be there when called upon.”
Quite where he’s called to play is another question; we’ve seen him as a deep-lying midfield conducting play, and in a more advanced role. With Liam Bridcutt, Lewis Fiorini, Lasse Sorensen, Conor McGrandles and Ted Bishop all vying for a start in those, Max might have to be adaptable, something he confesses he doesn’t have an issue with.
“I wouldn’t say I’m an out and out holding midfielder, I like to get on the ball as much as I can and influence games further up the pitch. I spoke to the manager in recent weeks and whatever he wants me to do, I can do. I don’t have a preference, I just want to play football and wherever the manager wants me, I’ll be there doing everything I can to help us win games. If that’s in a holding role, then I’ll play there”
It also seemed as though the Horsham schemer struggled a little to adapt when stepping up from Under 23 football. Aside from a loan spell with AFC Wimbledon, Max has mainly featured in Under 23 football, and he admits the differences between the two levels are striking.
“Playing senior football is massively different to playing in the 23s. League One is some much more physical. You don’t get the time you would on the ball either; 23s is all about ‘you have the ball, we have the ball’, whereas League One is completely different. It’s one hundred mile per hour and you’re constantly tracking runners and working out of possession.
“You have to be switched on all the time, whereas in the 23s you can occasionally switch off and not get punished. In senior football, everything is a battle and you have to win that battle. It has been a challenge, there’s a big difference.”
It does seem as though he’s in a better place now, certainly through the injuries and settled in the city. You can read about his views on the FA Cup, including being a fan of one of our rivals in the 2016/17 FA Cup run! Make sure you pick up a programme, either at the ground or by ordering through Ignition Media here. Remember, if you don’t buy a copy, we could lose the programme altogether.
As an aside, I really enjoyed talking to Max. He was on the train coming home from seeing his family and what struck me was his eagerness to play. I think he’s one like Dan N’Lundulu who not only needs to adjust, but is also keen to adapt to a new level of football. Something clicked with dan a week or two ago, and I think in terms of performance, the same has happened with Max. The difference is this; he’s our player. I’m utterly convinced there’s a midfielder in there in the John Finnigan mould, someone who could become a key first-team player if he gets a run of games.
Let’s hope that starts this weekend against Bowers & Pitsea.