The Non-League Football Paper

Experienced midfielder Jai Reason chooses parklife for pre-season

JAI REASON is making sure he’s in top shape for his next challenge – even if his solo training sessions are getting him funny looks in the local park!

The 27-year-old attacking midfielder is a free agent after leaving National League Boreham Wood at the end of last season.

While he’s got interest from clubs at Step 1 and 2, he’s yet to sign on the dotted line anywhere as clubs get their pre-season underway.

So Reason is taking a bag of balls to a patch of grass near his home to go through his paces before working hard in the gym in the afternoon.

“I’m raring to go,” Reason told The NLP. “Everyone’s getting ready for pre-season and I’m doing one on my own. I do two to three sessions a day – running sessions, ball work and then strength work in the gym.

“I’m doing different bits I’ve gathered from different clubs over the years. Anything I can do that relates to a game situation.

“There are people out walking their dogs probably thinking, ‘What’s this geezer doing running around with a football?’ I’ve got my boots and socks on and they must think I’m weird. But you’ve got to do it. As soon as I get that phone call to say, ‘Come and sign’, I’ve got to be firing on all cylinders.”

Reason is even keener to do that after a frustrating campaign that started at Eastleigh before he joined Wood in February.

A two-time Conference South winner with Braintree Town and Eastleigh, he’s also eager to land a club with promotion ambitions.

“Last season was one of the most mentally tough I’ve ever had,” the former Ipswich and Cambridge United man, who starred in Eastleigh’s run to the FA Cup third round in 2016, said.

“I’ve had so many highs over the last four years, then last season I had four or five managers and two different clubs.

“To be honest I fell out of love with it a bit. It was the other side of football. But you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth and I’m looking forward to a new challenge.

“I want to challenge for something too. No disrespect to clubs happy to finish mid-table, I want to be going to a club that is pushing at the top end, whether it’s the National League or National League South. I want to be fighting for something.

“I’ve always been in teams that breed winning. I want to carry that on. It’s no good coming to the end of the season and seeing it out. I want to use my experience of what it’s like to handle the pressure in those last five games when you’re trying to win something.”

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