Plymouth Albion's Paul Bailey has his confidence back
PLYMOUTH Albion utility back Paul Bailey says he has now got his confidence back after a mid-season injury.
Bailey broke his hand against Jersey at the start of November and it required an operation.
He was ruled out for more than a month.
The experienced back did return as replacement in Albion's cup match against Aberavon in December and scored a try within seconds of taking to the field.
He also featured in Albion's cup matches against Rotherham and Munster A in January, but he struggled to force his way back into the club's Championships squad.
He featured just once in a league match between November 3 to February 3 – against Leeds at Headingley in January.
But Bailey got his opportunity again when dual-registered backs Jack Arnott and Henry Slade went away on England Under-20 duty.
He was recalled to the bench to face Leeds on February 3 in a replay of that match in January.
And Bailey took his chance and impressed as a replacement in that game, which Albion narrowly lost 28-26.
He also came on and produced storming displays at Rotherham and then last Saturday against Bedford.
"I have definitely got my confidence back to where it needs to be," said Bailey, who started the season well.
"When I broke my hand I came back and my confidence was a bit low.
"And it is hard coming into a team that is not winning when your confidence is low.
"I did struggle a bit, but now I feel I am playing well and my confidence is up.
"I am getting the ball and I am running with it.
"But the team is looking sharper and more confident as well now.
"The Moseley game (on January 26) was a real turning point for us.
"It was a real down for us (Albion lost 9-6), but since then we have got ourselves back up.
"We have been playing some good rugby. We just have to keep moving that forward and if we do that we will win games.
"If we keep scoring three and four tries then we are going to win games."
Albion have not won a league match since November 9.
They have lost their last four games by just a single score, including a heartbreaking 28-27 home loss to Bedford last Saturday.
"That was really frustrating," said Bailey. "We played some great rugby, but at times it was not good enough. We have to play for the full 80 minutes to win games like that."
Albion had the chance to win the match with the last kick of the game, but Paul Roberts just missed the touchline conversion.
Bailey said: "It was just outside (the post). He (Roberts) also had another from the other touchline that just dropped under the bar.
"It is just those little things. If we had scored our tries a little bit closer then they would have been easier kicks."
He added: "We have a break now and we will work hard and we will move on to the Nottingham game (March 3). Hopefully, we can do the same and score four tries, but maybe win."
Bailey must surely be pushing for a start at Meadow Lane after his impressive three replacement performances.
He said: "We will see. I am happy to just do my job in the team, wherever that is.
"I am just trying to contribute the best I can. If that's off the bench, then that's fine, but ideally I would like to be playing."
Bailey has played centre, wing, full-back and fly-half in his two seasons at Albion.
He has looked particularly comfortable at full-back in the last few games.
When asked where he prefers to play, Bailey said: "I don't mind.
"All my career I have played full-back, centre and wing. I also played fly-half a bit last year, which was different, but I don't care.
"I just want to be in a position where I can get the ball and I can run with it. That is what I like to do – just run with the ball."