AT the age of 42, Paul Bastock believes this may be his last season in non league football – and he wants to go out on a high.
The Tigers stopper joined the club in the summer, after being released by his beloved Boston United, where he played 679 games in two spells.
Speaking to the Guardian this week he insisted he was still enjoying his football, but admitted he could see the end of a 24-year career approaching.
“I would say this is possibly my last season at this level,” he said.
“Physically I don’t feel any different from five or 10 years ago, and I’m still enjoying my football as much as ever.”
“But it’s a decision half made already, because the travelling is starting to take its toll and you come to a time in your life when you think do I need to be travelling here, there and everywhere.”
“I’ve got a good rapport with the fans at Worksop and it would be quite a nice way to end it if we win something or go up through the play-offs, I would love to end my career on a positive.”
Aside from the often unglamorous logistics of non league football, another consideration for the shot stopper is his son Callum.
The 16-year-old is following in his dad’s footsteps and hoping to forge out a career between the posts.
Bastock senior said: “He’s just turned 16 and I brought him across to training the other week so he could get a feel for men’s football, and what it’s like in non league.”
“He impressed a few people and he’s always been better than I was at that stage, plus he’s 6ft 1ins so he has a massive advantage on me already.”
“That’s another reason I think I need to be around the house a bit more, so I can help get him started.”
If this is to be his last season, Bastock is hoping it ends with Worksop Town in the kind of form that has seen them reverse their fortunes, following a poor start.
“We set off full of expectation and in the first game conceded for fun, and that had a knock on effect for a while,” he said.
“But as you can see from the results we’ve turned it around and we’re well within striking distance of the play-offs.”
“I would rather we started poorly than ended poorly, and with both the gaffers determination and passion we’re only going to go from strength to strength.”
Having played for a host of clubs in his long career, Bastock knows a thing or two about changing rooms, and what makes a good one, and in his well qualified opinion, Tigers have a good one.
He explained: “They’re a great set of lads, there’s good banter and we’ve got some real workers.”
In particular he sang the praises of the men in front of him, picking out good friend Ryan Clarke as a star performer for the club.
“Kern Miller is a good steady lad, Adie Hawes has come in and done well, and Ryan Clarke should be playing in the Football League – he’s one of the best right-backs I’ve ever come across.”
“Ryan is an educated boy with a good job, so he wouldn’t even think about it, but he should be playing full-time football.”
“Luke Shiels is another one who should be in the Football League, and it’s just at left-back that we’ve been struggling, but they’re looking to strengthen that with the lad on loan from Gainsborough.”
Having a good defence is not only key to Tigers’ hopes this season, but also to Bastock’s form.
The custodian has six clean sheets to his name in the current campaign, and believes his form has tallied with the improved performances of the back four.
“I’ve gradually got better as the season has gone on, and I’ve always said a goalkeeper is only as good as what he has in front of him.”
“If you’ve got no protection and crosses are raining in, you could be the best in the world and still made to look a fool.”
“It’s shown since we turned the corner, I’ve put in a few decent displays but the defence have been protecting me as well,” he added.