Koge goalkeeper Chris Sharpe: Being No1 lifts my game
Aussie goalkeeper Chris Sharpe discusses his move from Viborg to Koge in Denmark and his disappointing leg injury. I'm counting down the days before the medical staff here at Koge allow me to begin training again. I'm about four weeks away from resuming training after fracturing my leg in a challenge earlier this season away against Braband IF. It's bloody frustrating as I was really beginning to enjoy myself. I came here from Viborg as the club's No1 and had done well in the opening four games of the season before this injury. I wasn't too impressed about how it happened, I must admit. The Braband player saw I had beaten him for the ball and came in with both feet across my left knee. I knew straight away it wasn't good. Our physio came on, I told him I wanted to play on, I tried to stand up and my leg wouldn't hold my weight. The Doc said it was my MCL or meniscus, but when we got the scan results back I had multiple fractures at the top of my tibia just below my knee. Diagnosis - 8-10 weeks out. Bloody 'ell! It's a very hard pill to swallow, especially as I was feeling in fantastic nick going into that Braband game. A major reason for that was the support of the Koge fans - which is the still the same today. When I go out for the milk in the morning, there's always people in the shops asking me how the injury is coming along and wishing me all the best. Indeed, apart from the injury, the move has been fantastic for me. Just before our winter break in December last year, the Viborg president approached me to say they had received an enquiry about me from Koge, he asked if I would be interested, I said of course but only to play as the No1. That's what Koge were looking for, I went home to Sydney for my break and left it up to Viborg to sort out the details of the move and I just waited for the offer. I was happy with what they produced and Viborg were very happy from there end. It was hard to leave Viborg, but I needed to play week in, week out. Going from an understudy at Viborg to outright first-choice with Koge has been a great test for me. It's a great feeling, obviously, to be the outright No1 and something every goalkeeper works hard to establish. Coming from a big club here in Denmark like Viborg, where you are expected to perform no matter if you?re first, second or third choice, to Koge were I came in as the No1, the transition was quite smooth. I just had to make sure I maintained the high quality I felt I was producing at Viborg. The media have been good to me and I knew I was going to be watched very closely as I they expect big things from their keepers after the success of Nenad Novakovic, who?s now at Reggina. So I knew the pressure was on! But I love that feeling and that's when I produce my best. The fans have been tremendous to me, I had a very strong preseason and I think everyone was very happy to see they had another reliable keeper. Koge are a great crowd to play in front of and the "Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie" chant has become very popular - which is always great to hear. Y'know, a transfer can be affected by what happens off the field - but I can report that my move was very, very easy. Koge is about three hours east of Viborg. So I had to move house. But I am now only 20 minutes away from Copenhagen and have one of the lads living next door. The boys have been great in the way they've welcomed me. The gaffer here at Koge is a hero for the Danes - Henrik Larsen - the winner of the 1992 European Championships with Denmark and the leading scorer for that campaign. He is very popular here in Denmark. He is very knowledgeable, as you would imagine, about football. He is a young coach and has a great relationship with his players. Danny Jung is our assistant coach, he is a former SAS Liga player and is a great character in the dressing room. We have a good mixture of young and old lads in our squad. As I said, they're a great bunch and have really made me feel welcome here. While I'm nursing this injury, we're already talking about me extending my stay here. I have until the summer on my contract. We had discussed extending it for a further year or two last month, but I wanted to wait and concentrate on promotion before we got down to the minor details. There's still an outside chance we can win promotion. Unfortunately the club were docked three points for late payment of wages earlier this season, which in the end could be mean us missing out on going up. But there's still enough points available to stage something dramatic and with the Koge fans behind us, nothing can be ruled out.