After he was stretchered off in the latter stages against Kidderminster, there was a unified sense of worry in the air for Josh Wilson at The Shay on Saturday.
However, the 25-year-old had some positive news regarding the injury ahead of the two-legged play-off semi-final showdown with Cambridge United.
“I’ve strained my ankle ligaments which can take anything up to two weeks to heal. I’ve been in touch with the physio and had some treatment last night. He has ruled me out of tomorrow night but I am going to try and get myself fit and available for Sunday.”
Wilson, who had headed the Shaymen into an early lead in the first minute and was forced off in the last against The Harriers, admits that he feared the worst at the time of impact.
“I thought it was a lot worse at the time. I am still disappointed because any injury at this point of the season, considering the games coming up is frustrating but I could have been ruled out for a lot longer. So I am happy that I can be fit within two weeks and hopefully there will be a Wembley final for me to play my part in.”
Despite the positive news that he won’t be out for too long, Wilson admits that it has been one setback after another for him this season.
“I’ve patiently waited my time to get in the starting eleven and the Gaffer gave me an opportunity in the last game of the season and I think I took that opportunity, but it has been a similar scenario for me all season, whether it be sending offs and suspensions or maybe a lack of form that has meant that I haven’t been able to put a run of games together. I didn’t really think much about it because I tend not to until after the game but I knew when I was on the pitch (against Kidderminster) that my performance would give me a chance to be in the starting eleven on Wednesday night and to get the injury in the last minute in a bit of a nothing challenge really just sums up my season really and sums up my luck.”
It has been something that hasn’t gone unnoticed in the dressing room, with Wilson’s team mates pondering what he might have done to deserve such rotten luck.
“A couple of the lads have been giving me some grief asking if my girlfriend is a witch or if I have ran over a black cat or anything like that, because the luck I have had this season has been horrendous but what can I do?”
Frustration was the main tone of the interview, with Wilson admitting that his first season as a Shayman hasn’t exactly gone to plan.
“It certainly has been frustrating on a personal level. If the team is winning and I’m not playing, I am still genuinely happy because the team’s performance comes first. In an ideal situation I would like to have been more involved in the winning streak we had towards the end of the season but I did play my part. As long as they lads are winning that is all that really matters because it is a team game and I know that I am a big part of the team.
With the suspensions I don’t think any of them were worthy of a red card so to miss seven games and then try and force your way back into a winning side was near enough impossible the way the lads were playing because they were frightening teams. So yes, I have had to bide my time and after doing that, to sustain an injury, frustrating is definitely the word I would use.”
Wilson was keen to move on and look to the future, with Cambridge United and their play-off credentials next on the agenda for the frontman.
“Funnily enough if you look back at last season it is a similar situation to what Guiseley were in. I was playing for Guiseley at the time and we were clear second for the majority of the season, similar to Cambridge in this division, we were disappointed not to go up and at the time we were aggrieved to have been beaten by a Halifax team that finished 18/20 points behind us, but that is just it, it’s the play-offs, it doesn’t really matter where you finished in the season. It ultimately comes down to a mini-league of three games, if you win over the first two, you’re into the final where of course anything can happen. I don’t think we should fear Cambridge at all, we don’t fear any team we come up against. We are going into this game thinking positively, I know the lads in the dressing room are buzzing at the moment and we all can’t wait for tomorrow so we can get on the pitch and hopefully do the business.”
The two games in the regular season against Cambridge saw The Shaymen have players sent off in both, something which Wilson thought affected the results on both occasions.
“I certainly do. The first game was a strange one, obviously with two dismissals within the opening twenty-five minutes, it was obviously going to have a huge impact on the game. The home game could have gone either way. Cambridge came with a gameplan to set out defensively knowing that we would attack them with us being at home, which sort of worked in their favour eventually, but that wasn’t one of our better days, I think over two legs we have got every chance of beating them.”
Cambridge United manager Richard Money has again been vocal this week with his criticism of the play-off and promotion system in non-league football, but Wilson was keen to focus on how it may help The Shaymen come tomorrow night and the weekend.
“I’m sure Richard Money knew the rules at the start of the season and the rules are if you finish second, you are in the play-offs and you don’t go up automatically. I don’t understand why he has come out and said that, maybe it is sour grapes because he wanted to win the league, but, they haven’t and now they have got the play-offs to contend so hopefully he’s breeding a bit of that negativity into his side and it shows on Wednesday and Sunday.”
The mood in the camp at Fortress Shay is one that has been key to success this season, something which Wilson can see going into the play-offs.
Totally. We were in training last night and every single player, whether that be in the starting eleven, on the bench or in the stands, are in this together, everyone is confident including the Gaffer and the staff. We feel we have something special to offer, I have been in this type of situation before and this is by far the best I have felt confident-wise in going into the play-offs.
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