Backwards is forwards for Jopling

PUBLISHED: 15:00 18 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:58 04 March 2010

600 APPROACHING: Stuart Jopling

600 APPROACHING: Stuart Jopling

STUART Jopling estimates he has netted approaching 600 goals in his glittering Ridgeons League career.

And the 34-year-old Debenham Leisure Centre striker today said that he hopes to play for many more years.

STUART Jopling estimates he has netted approaching 600 goals in his glittering Ridgeons League career.

And the 34-year-old Debenham Leisure Centre striker today said that he hopes to play for many more years.

But the goals may dry up as Jopling reveals that he plans to end his career in defence. But not for a couple of years yet.

“I started as a central defender as a teenager, and this is where I intend to finish,” he said.

“It is easier playing at the back, so I will be able to last longer.

“There has not been a season when I have scored less than 30 goals, and although I haven't kept records I estimate my output to be around 550.

“Having played up front for so long, it would give me an advantage playing at the back as I appreciate the moves that a front man is likely to make.

“And it would put less pressure on my body with less kicks to take and hopefully extend my playing career.”

Jopling turned down a chance to move to Needham Market last month and has notched 22 goals this season.

He is keen to do well for Debenham and added: “Manager Mel Aldis has a difficult job.

“He has a tight budget running a side in a village in the middle of nowhere.

“Mel cannot afford to throw money at promotion. But we are not too far from the top and there is a long way to go.”

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