Date: 28th February 2014 at 11:03pm
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A preview of former defender Carl Dickinson’s X-Men interview, due to appear in Saturday’s matchday programme

FOOTBALL does a roaring trade in cruel twists of fate, as former Watford man Carl Dickinson discovered when won promotion to the Premier League in 2008.

The left-back was part of Tony Pulis’ promotion-winning Stoke City side which finished second to West Bromwich Albion as Aidy Boothroyd’s Watford slumped to sneak sixth-place.

Whilst promotion was the ‘best day’ Dickinson has had in football, it as good as spelled the end of his time at the Potteries.

Selected for the first three league fixtures of the 2008/09 campaign, Dickinson found himself out of favour when Pulis brought Sunderland left-back Danny Higginbotham in to replace him.

‘It was frustrating, I will be honest,’ admits Dickinson. ‘I`d played a lot of games to get to where we were and to be dropped after I think it was three games [was disappointing]. I understand that the need was to stay in the Premier League and that you need that experience, but I would say I would have liked to have been given more of a go, but I understand why I wasn`t.

Dickinson continues: ‘I was still quite a young man – I think I was only 21 or 22 – and that`s football at the end of the day. The manager is there to help the team win and the decision is final. You can either moan about it or keep your head down and try and take your [next] opportunity.’

As it transpired, the next opportunity for the Swadlincote-born full-back saw him join League One Leeds United on-loan, linking up with Simon Grayson for the second time in his career.

‘I have a really good relationship with Grayson; I still do now whenever I see him,’ enthuses Dickinson.

‘I get on really well with him. To be wanted by a manager, especially at a massive club like Leeds, was huge for me. When he called and said he wanted me to go over there, I was more than willing to.

‘It was a shame I didn`t stay longer because I went back to Stoke and hardly kicked a ball for the rest of the season, which was quite frustrating,’ concedes the 26 year-old.

Forty-seven appearances in two seasons at Vicarage Road followed before Dickinson found himself surplus to requirements in Gianfranco Zola’s 3-5-2 system, paving the way for a free transfer move to current club Port Vale.

The Valiants are flying high in League One – perched in 10th just nine points outside the top six, despite only winning promotion last season.

Back in a familiar part of the world, Dickinson is enjoying his football again after a frustrating final season in WD18.

‘I`ve played one or two different positions this season – I`ve played left-back, centre-back and I`ve even had one or two appearances in centre midfield!

‘Honestly, I`ve really enjoyed this season. It`s worked out really well for me, only living 20 minutes from the ground and the training ground, it`s been massive for me and my family. I`ve really enjoyed it, especially after last season, not being near a squad.’

REMEMBER! This is just a preview of Carl’s full X-Men interview, which will appear in Saturday’s matchday programme against former club Blackpool. Make sure to pick up a copy for more on Stoke, a loan spell in Iceland and Blackpool.