By Tom Ambrose
Pim Balkestein hopes to prove to Brentford that he can cut it in the Football League, however he endured a nightmare start scoring an own goal after 15 minutes of the season starting.
The Dutchman’s defensive blunder set Stevenage on to a 3-1 win in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night.
The 23-year-old has spent the past two seasons warming the Griffin Park bench and now all he wants to do is get out on the pitch and play football.
Despite impressing during a loan spell at Brentford, Balkestein could not secure a first team place and is determined for history not to repeat itself at Kingsmeadow.
He said: “Football doesn’t always follow the same script. Everyone has their dips in form. When I signed for Brentford, I felt a huge pressure. Andy Scott didn’t give me a very good time.
“Then Uwe Rosler gave me no chances either and made it clear that my career at Brentford was over.
“I am looking forward now though – I want to show them I can cut it in the Football League.”
And the Dutchman, who has targetted a top six finish for the Dons, admitted life might not get any easier at Kingsmeadow.
He said: “We want to get into the play-offs – but there are 15 or so other teams in League Two who think the same.
“It will be tough, but we definitely have the players to do it. We must improve on last season, that’s for sure.”
He said: “I spent three weeks at Brentford pre-season before coming here. We haven’t had great results in pre-season but our second half display against Portsmouth shows we are a good team.
“It went well last season when I came here on loan. I formed a good partnership with Mat Mitchel-King and hopefully can carry that on this year.
“I came back here to play. I’ve suffered from injuries over the past few years but can hopefully get my fitness back now. I am looking forward to playing a full season for the first time in a while.”