Bideford defender Jack Furzer is taking his chances
BIDEFORD'S Boxing Day match winner is relishing his return to the team, writes Mark Jenkin.
After a frustrating start to the season, including injury, suspension and a first-hand look at the troubles facing Barnstaple Town, Jack Furzer is back in the fold.
Since a recall at Barwell last month, he has impressed in a formidable three-man defence with Aaron Harper-Penman and Rob Farkins.
Not only has he taken the opportunity to play, he has even started taking chances in front of goal, with the strike at Frome his first for the club since April 2011.
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Furzer feared his time with Bideford could be over after not being selected by manager Sean Joyce in the early months of the season.
The former Exeter City player said: "I had a couple of games at Barnstaple and it was all up in the air.
"I was hoping I would get another chance and Sean said, 'When you get your chance, take it'.
"I'm starting to get back to my best now. I would like to think I'll be in the team for a while now."
With a constant voice in their ear, Farkins and Harper-Penman certainly know Furzer is back on the scene. Talking and organising are his trademarks.
"That's always been a big part of my game," he said. "It makes it a lot easier for the other lads and I think they appreciate it.
"I'm happy for them to go and win everything in the air and clear their lines.They love kicking people and fighting. Let them do the horrible stuff and I'll just do the talking and pass the ball."
Even when he first arrived at the Sports Ground on loan from Exeter at the age of 18, Furzer was not afraid to take responsibility, shouting instructions to more experienced team-mates.
Last season he returned for another loan spell and the move became permanent after he was released by Exeter in November 2011.
He was an integral part of the team who won first division south and west in the Evo-Stik League Southern, gaining promotion to the premier division.
Now 20, Furzer, from Exeter, is learning his trade as an apprentice bricklayer.
"When you're training every day, you get into that rhythm," he said. "When you're going to work from eight until five every day it's hard to motivate yourself (for training), but you've got to do it.
"I had been at Exeter since I was 7 or 8. I was an apprentice for a couple of years then I signed as a pro and got released a year and a half later.
"The amount of kids who come out of youth teams and think they are better than they are because they have been at a professional club ...
"It was a good job I was out on loan. If you're not on loan you're not going to know the local managers."
Making the permanent switch to Bideford was the obvious choice.
"Apart from professional level, you're not really going to get much better around here," said Furzer. "I have got a lot of mates at the club as well."
The short spell at Barnstaple proved a real eye-opener. Furzer was sent off for a last-man foul in the defeat at St Blazey in the FA Carlsberg Vase and worse was to follow at Bishop Sutton where Barum were thrashed 7-0 in the Toolstation Western League.
Ten days later he returned to Bideford as a substitute in the win against Kettering Town. Since then they have lost just one of their last five matches and have defended superbly at Barwell, Leamington and Frome.
"We just want to keep improving and get as high as we can," said Furzer. "A comfortable top-half finish would be nice and then build again for next year.
"It was hard to get to grips with it at the start of the season. We didn't really know what to expect. We were good enough but I don't think we were believing in ourselves enough.
"We have had a look at the opposition now and thought, 'Hang on a minute, there isn't a lot between the teams'.
"We don't fear anyone now. We have played all the top teams and I think we'll be feared."