By James Hepworth
Carshalton Athletic’s milestone midfielder Luke Pigden believes the club will secure their Ryman Premier League status.
The 23-year-old, who made his 100th appearance for the Robins last month, believes the milestone is not only the biggest achievement of his footballing career so far, but is enough incentive to pull the club’s season around.
The claim comes despite Pigden and his team-mates currently sitting rock bottom of the league – three points adrift of safety, having played five games more than their nearest rivals.
Pigden believes he would have reached the 100 mark if he had not suffered a multitude of injuries, including a fractured leg in 2011 and severe ankle ligament damage on his return from injury eight weeks’ later.
The club stalwart said: “This has to be the proudest moment of my career so far, not many players can boast about reaching the 100 cap mark at one club in just three seasons.
“I was unlucky not to have reached the landmark earlier but these things happen, and now I couldn’t be more pleased about being able to say that I have played 100 games for Carshalton.”
He added: “Most players in this league swap and change so often that very few players now are able to rack up such milestones.”
Pigden, who helped guide AFC Wimbledon to the Blue Square Premier in 2009, joined Carshalton in 2010 via a spell at Leatherhead. Since his move to Colston Avenue, the midfielder has been nothing short of a club success.
The Epsom born Pigden said: “I was invited by the manager to come down for a trial and I was lucky enough to be given a chance at Carshalton.
“In my time here, I have seen great times, such as beating Lincoln City in the FA Trophy in front of our own fans, but now we have to beat this drop.”
It is a tough assignment as Carshalton have the worst record in the league as well as the longest run of consecutive defeats – prior to the 1-0 win at Hampton & Richmond on Boxing Day, the Colston Avenue side had gone eight games without picking up a point.
Pigden believes this has been due to a lack of luck, and the past two results – the win at Hampton, and a point at home to Met Police – could prove their luck is about to change.
Especially given that Robins keeper Nick Hamann was in inspired form against Met Police – the visiting manager Jim Cooper described Hamann’s performance as “out of this world”.
Pigden said: “If you look at the teams we have played recently, they have been teams from the top half of the table, but even then we have only just marginally lost. I think that we just haven’t had luck on our side.
“The last two results [Hampton and Met] have given us the optimism to now get ourselves out of trouble.”
Pigden has seen managers come and go, and now Tommy Williams has been given the chance to turn things around in an attempt to beat the drop.
“I used to play with Tommy and he is a great guy as well as a great coach, I feel extremely certain that he will turn things around,” Pigden said.
Carshalton go to Bognor Regis, who sit currently ninth in the table, on Saturday, before hosting fellow league strugglers Enfield Town on Tuesday night.