MICHAEL Potts vented all his anger on Rochdale after his surprise recall to York City’s side in Saturday’s 3-2 win.
The transfer-listed midfielder had managed only three substitute outings this season, amounting to just over an hour of football, prior to being named in Gary Mills’ starting line-up for the first time since the dead rubber home game against Forest Green on the final day of the regular 2011/12 campaign.
In fact, Potts’ selection represented only his third league appearance in a Minstermen first XI since arriving in North Yorkshire from Blackburn Rovers 18 months ago.
Admitting that he has felt imprisoned on occasions at Bootham Crescent, Potts channelled that frustration with a two-goal, first-half blast at Spotland that set City on their way to a first win in eight games.
After being handed his first opportunity since a cameo off the bench at Burton in mid-September, Potts confessed: “It’s been a very, very frustrating period and I had a lot of anger in me for Saturday’s game. I just wanted to prove to people what I can do. I feel like I’ve been locked away.
“I just wanted to get out there and play football.
“I’m just pleased the gaffer believed in me and gave me that chance.”
Potts believes Saturday’s game also vindicates his decision to stay with the Minstermen after Mills circulated his availability to other clubs in August.
“I could have left a couple of times,” he revealed. “I just felt the moves weren’t right for me so I’m glad I waited.”
With Jonathan Smith, Lee Bullock and Tom Platt having all been farmed out on loan, Mills turned to Potts after Danny Kearns was recalled by parent club Peterborough.
About that twist in fate, the talented 21-year-old added: “That’s how football works. Doors open and you have to take your chances.
“Kearnsy did really well for us and he’s a great player. Hopefully, he will play at Peterborough now and I’m so grateful that they called him back.”
Having never broken into the first team at Ewood Park, Potts’ goals at Rochdale were also his first in senior football and he was thrilled by both, saying: “The gaffer just told me to play my game so I just kept things simple and tried to get in the box to hopefully get some goals.
“I couldn’t believe my luck when I got two – it was an unbelievable feeling. For the first, Jamal showed all game that he has great pace and puts balls in areas where you just have to get into.
“The ball hit me in the face first of all but luckily I reacted before they did to put it in the net. For the second, there were two defenders on the line but luckily my shot had enough pace to hit the back of the net.”
Potts could, indeed, have claimed a hat-trick, having missed the target with his weaker foot in between the two strikes.
“I’ve got to practice on my left because I pulled it,” he admitted.
On his overall performance and that of the team, Potts added: “It’s my game to get on the ball, have one touch or two, then keep it moving.
“I’m not the biggest lad and I need to do that so the opposition don’t get near me. We kept the ball moving really well in the first half.
“They put pressure on us in the second and it was a bit harder. They were right on top of us and we just had to keep putting the ball in behind them and see the game out, which we did in the end even if I gave a penalty away.”
An honest Potts held his hand up for the spot kick decision and also understood referee Oliver Langford’s failure to detect a shirt tug on him during the build up to the hosts’ first goal, adding: “Michael Ingham says their player drew the referee in a bit but I think it probably was a penalty.
“I went up to win the header but I was on the wrong side. For their first goal, their player got away with it.
“It was in the middle of the park but it was on the referee’s blindside and everybody makes mistakes.”
Potts is now hoping to retain his place for Saturday’s match at Plymouth and feels fit enough to cope with back-to-back outings despite his long spells of inactivity this term.
He said: “The gaffer told me two days before Saturday’s game that he was 90 per cent certain I’d be playing. He just wasn’t too sure about my fitness and asked if it would be better if we waited another couple of games.
“I told him that of course I was ready to play and, even though my legs were a bit tired towards the end, I will be ready to play again at Plymouth.”