Dundalk midfielder Jordan Flores has vowed to ‘hit the ground running’ next season after putting his injury problems behind him.
The former Wigan Athletic player has had a frustrating debut season at Oriel Park. He had just completed his first 90 minutes away to Finn Harps in June since being involved in an October 2017 car crash that left him struggling to walk when he suffered a further injury setback on Dundalk’s mid-season training camp in Spain.
Flores has impressed in brief cameos since his return against St Patrick’s Athletic and played just his second 90 minutes for the club in Friday night’s 1-1 draw with Linfield at Windsor Park.
While this season has been largely a write-off for the 24-year-old, he is hopeful of building on his strong finish to the season to ensure he is more involved at Oriel Park next year.
“It has been a frustrating season so to go out there and get a start and play the 90 minute it is only a good thing,” said Flores on Friday night.
“It’s just been good to get back into the swing of things in terms of being in match day squads and stuff like that. You can’t replicate what you do in a match in training so at the minute it’s just good to be out there and hopefully I can take that momentum into pre-season and next season.”
Flores, who was on loan at Chesterfield at the time of his car accident, said knowing he would be at Dundalk next year was huge in helping him prepare for next season.
“I think a massive part of it is knowing that I’m going to be here next season and knowing that I’m going to be fighting for a spot. I’m already buzzing for pre-season because I’ll just be focusing on being right for the season.
“I had a slow start here but I was just getting into the swing of things and started to feel myself again but then the injury happened so it wasn’t the best but coming back into it now I’m feeling very good and very strong so I’m just going to take that into the off-season. My plan is to keep fit and hit the ground running next season.
“I had a couple of years after the accident where I was just constantly fighting injuries and fighting for football but there’s a great group of lads here and to come in training with them every day it’s a special group to be involved with.”
Having gone close with a couple of efforts at Windsor Park, Flores also said he wants to bring goals to the midfield next year.
“I like to get shots off,” he smiled.
“I was close enough with a couple. I need to make sure I get them on target but hopefully next season I’ll be banging them in.”
Meanwhile, Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth said Flores is very much in his plans for next year.
“He has got an improvement to make in his fitness levels. He has just had bad luck this season but it’s probably typical of what we’ve had in that central midfield area. When he had his game time early in the season we weren’t at our very best and then when we were at our very best he was out injured.
“When players come to a club in a new country, it’s so much easier for them if the team they’re coming to are in form and playing well. He hasn’t had the season he wanted but we have high hopes for Jordan. He’s a really good lad,” said Perth.