Ben Middleton believes Boston United need to flex their muscles more if they want to climb the table

Middleton doesn't want a repeat of his Darlington red.
Middleton doesn't want a repeat of his Darlington red.

Ben Middleton wants to unload some pent-up aggression. Just not too much.

The Boston United defender is hoping to mark his return from injury against AFC Telford United on Saturday, after 16 weeks on the sidelines.

Middleton won promotion with North Ferriby.

Middleton won promotion with North Ferriby.

The freak gym injury, which saw the defender break a bone in his foot, is the longest he has ever been out of action.

And he is more desperate than ever to lace up his boots and get stuck in.

“I need to release some of that aggression that’s been building up in the past few weeks,” he said, before remembering his two red cards for the Pilgrims away at York City and Darlington.

“But I’ve got to be a bit careful when I come back. I want to do well but I can’t get too passionate about it and end up the same as the Darlo game.

Ben Middleton.

Ben Middleton.

“I need to be careful with it as we’ve seen how that can go wrong.”

Manager Craig Elliott has openly admitted Boston have missed Middleton’s versatility and aggression in recent weeks.

And while the 23-year-old believes there is the talent and desire in the Boston squad to maintain a push into the top seven, he hopes to bring an additional edge to the team.

“Last year across the Christmas period we picked a lot of points up. It’s what we were hoping for this year but it hasn’t quite worked out for us,” Middleton said.

Middleton played against Telford at Boston while on loan from Harrogate last season.

Middleton played against Telford at Boston while on loan from Harrogate last season.

“I definitely think there’s still a chance (we can make the play-offs). We’ve got the lads and the dressing room is as good as it’s been all season.

“There is potential there, we just need to step up. We need to show another side against teams who are big and put it on us.

“We don’t seem to be able to cope with it. We need a bit more ability to be nasty.

“We look good in pretty games. But in these sorts of games we can struggle.”

With North Ferriby and Harrogate, Middleton has been part of two squads which have won the National League North play-offs.

An while both had differing approaches to the game, the defender is adamant that versatility is the key to success, suggesting toughness, flare and togetherness are all needed.

“Sometimes it’s not about playing football but doing the dirty side of it,” he said.

“A lot of it is about the players in the dressing room, good relationships.

“I’ve ben in a team with (6ft 6ins striker Tom Denton) up top and we didn’t play the prettiest of football, but it does work at this level.

“There’s two sides. You can play the nice stuff but you need the horrible stuff as well.”

Reflecting on his injury, Middleton said: “I’ve never been out this long. The longest injury I’ve ever been out up until now is probably three or four weeks, so to be out this long... I’ve been pulling my hair out.

“I can’t wait to come back. It’s been rubbish.

“It’s rough with results when they don’t go well. There’s nothing you can do, you just sit there and watch and listen to what’s getting said. It’s been frustrating.”

Middleton’s last game was the 1-0 defeat at Telford in November.

Now he has the chance to face the same opposition, he is hoping for a different outcome.

“That was another frustrating game,” he said.

“We owe them one. Hopefully, I can play and perform better, maybe keep a clean sheet.”

The match will kick off at 3pm.