Martyn Woolford has insisted he did not make a derogatory gesture towards Sheffield United supporters following his last match at Bramall Lane.
But Woolford, who joined Fleetwood Town earlier this term after being declared surplus to requirements by Chris Wilder, admitted the ensuing row has made even more determined to impress when the two clubs meet at Highbury today.
The 30-year-old’s United career ended on a sour note when he was accused of making a ‘v-sign’ towards a section of the home crowd during the aftermath of May’s defeat by Scunthorpe.
“I actually gave the fans a thumbs-up at the end of last season,” Woolford said. “For some reason, people thought I’d showed them two fingers. I’ve tried to tell people otherwise but they don’t seem to want to listen.
“This game, it’s huge for me. Things never really worked, for whatever reason, for me there. It was a disappointing time for me and so, in a sense, I’ve got a point to prove regarding that. The way that I left is extra incentive for me. Fuel to the fire.”
“I don’t think I’ll get a great reception (from the visiting supporters) if I’m honest,” he added. “But I’m big enough and man enough to take whatever comes my way.”
Woolford endured a torrid season with United after being signed by former manager Nigel Adkins at the start of the previous campaign. Having failed to secure a place in Wilder’s plans following his appointment five months ago, he recently agreed a one year contract with Uwe Rosler’s side.
“The new manager, for whatever reason, decided I wasn’t going to be part of his plans,” Woolford said. “I didn’t get the chance to turn things around. I was ready to fight for my place and prove people wrong. But I wasn’t getting the opportunity which was disappointing. But that just makes me more hungry to do well and prove people wrong now.”
“It was a tough time for me but I like to think I handled it pretty well by concentrating on the only thing I could effect and that was me.”
Woolford has made sixth appearances for 13th placed Fleetwood since arriving in Lancashire. United climbed to sixth after beating Bristol Rovers on Tuesday evening.
“I don’t really look at the league table much at the minute,” Woolford said. “Look at Sheffield United. A couple of weeks back they were rock bottom. Now, after putting some good results together, they are up there towards the top. I don’t think the league has settled down yet.”