Midfielder back up and running after Boxing Day leg break
After being on the end of a horror tackle on Boxing Day that saw him break his leg in two places, Town midfielder JONATHAN SMITH is now walking unaided and smiling as he watches his team-mates continue the fine form which he was a part of in the first place. In an exclusive interview with Hatters Player, Smith reflects on the day and the subsequent messages of goodwill that he received in the aftermath from thousands of Hatters fans.
Talk of the Town: It’s great to see you back at Kenilworth Road Jonathan, what have the last few months been like?
Jonathan Smith: It’s not been the easiest, but progress has been good and I’m trying to stay positive. Things are going really well and the injury wasn’t as bad as I initially thought it was.
TOTT: When the injury happened on Boxing Day, what was the first thing that went through your mind?
JS: You fear the worst at first, but everything has gone really well since the injury, it honestly hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be.
TOTT: There was a lot of concern about the injury at the point in time; the quick thinking of the medical staff must have helped in the overall context of recovery?
JS: A lot of people helped me on the day; I think the Barnet physio did a good job as did our own Simon Parsell. Everything went to plan.
TOTT: You went to Harrow hospital and stayed there for a number of days, how was that?
JS: I stayed there for a couple of nights and the staff were pleased with how the operation went. They got me on crutches straight away and I was good to go.
TOTT: The progress has been quite remarkable given the extent of the injury, what was it like being told what had happened to you on the day?
JS: I don’t let many things get me down; I tried to look at the positives. There were always people around me and I had a lot of support from the fans. I got a lot of cards and messages, the support was unbelievable. I received great support from John Still, Terry Harris, Gary Sweet and everyone involved with the club. Everyone was rallying around me, and I didn’t let anything get me down.
TOTT: Were you blown away with the amount of support you received?
JS: The support was unbelievable. I know the club has great supporters, but to stick by someone like that is amazing, I will never forget that whatever happens in life, looking back at that well help me get through anything. I am so keen to get back to help the club and pay back the faith they have shown in me.
TOTT: The fans and the players are trying to repay the faith shown in you by trying to win the league for you, what’s it like watching this?
JS: The lads are doing really well at the minute; as long as they keep working hard as they have been doing they will get to where they want to be, the attitude of the club is fantastic. I keep reminding them and telling them to keep going. It’s great to watch the results coming in. I am as much behind the team as everyone else is.
TOTT: The show of support in the games straight after with the likes of Andre Gray wearing a shirt saying “Doing it for Smudger” must give you so much confidence?
JS: It’s been fantastic; all the lads have helped me out. Luke Guttridge has helped me a lot; he has let me stay at his house a few times. It’s not easy when you’re on crutches, but he has taken me in and looked after me. Every single member of the squad has been really supportive towards me and I’ll never forget that.
TOTT: You are off crutches now and that must be a big step for you, the next step must be to start jogging?
JS: I have got my aims of where I want to be. The next step for me is to come back and start pre-season as a League Two player. The way it’s going at the minute it looks achievable.
TOTT: Have you always been mentally tough, but have you ever had an injury as bad as this one?
JS: I’ve played a lot of games and I’ve never had a serious injury before. I’ve had things such as a dead leg and other small niggles, but not enough to make me miss a game. The only time I have ever missed a game is through suspension or being ill so this is new to me.
TOTT: Were you aware straight away of what had happened to you at the time?
JS: The first thing I did was look at the referee to call for a foul. I didn’t even know where the player who tackled me had come from and I looked down and saw my leg. A lot of the team came over and didn’t notice at first, but I knew there was something wrong.
TOTT: The player that caused the injury is one of the nicest players you could meet, did he come out and apologise to you after the game?
JS: Yesm he came and apologised to me. It’s part of the risk when you play football, I’ve gone in for many tackles before, it’s just part of what happens.
TOTT: Were you frustrated at the timing of the injury because it looked as though you were starting to find your best form?
JS: I thought I was playing well at the time, but I’ll come back stronger. I’m keeping myself fit and I’ll be ready to come back, it’s just a case of letting my bone heal now. I know I will have a job on my hands when I return as there are a lot of good players here such as Matt Robinson, Cameron McGeehan and Pelly Ruddock. I don’t expect to come back and get straight back in the team, I have a job on my hands when I come back to show that I’m good enough for this club.
TOTT: Will you be there every week to watch your team-mates play?
JS: I’m desperate to come and watch the lads, I’m gutted I’m not out there myself but I’ll be right behind the team when they play.
TOTT: You were there for the win against Macclesfield, is it the kind of game that you would have loved to get stuck into?
JS: Yeah I would have been desperate to play; being around the lads before and after the game means a lot to me. The gaffer still tries to get me involved as much as possible and it makes me feel like I’m still a part of everything even though I’m not actually on the pitch.
TOTT: Is there anything you would like to say to thank the fans for their support?
JS: The support I’ve had from the fans has been unbelievable. The messages and cards have made me feel a real part of everything that’s happening. I’ll never forget the support I’ve received and it will spur me on when I return from injury.
This article first appeared in Talk of the Town issue 22 v Wrexham. Limited copies remain on sale at the club shop.