Felixstowe skipper plays through pain barrier

FELIXSTOWE & Walton United skipper Matt Ryland has played through the pain barrier as the Seasiders bid to avoid relegation this season.

Ryland played four matches for the Ridgeons League Premier Division club with a broken ankle earlier this season, after the injury was not initially diagnosed properly.

And until recently has been playing through the pain as the matches come thick and fast in the second half of the season.

The 25-year-old, who sustained the injury in the FA Cup tie away to North Greenford United on September 25, said: “The fracture was missed on the original X-ray, and after three weeks out I came back and played a further four games.

“I was in absolute agony, but then the injury was properly diagnosed and I was out for several more weeks.”

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Ryland, who said he was fortunate not to miss more matches because of the weather causing so many postponements either side of Christmas, returned to action on January 3.

He admitted: “It was taking me two or three days to get over the effects after a game, but now after 24 hours’ discomfort I am ready to go again.”

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Ryland, who can play left back or in central defence, has been outstanding as Felixstowe try to pull clear of the bottom three and preserve their Premier Division status, picking up 14 points from 13 games since his return.

“Since Christmas we have picked up as many points as we had before. Besides myself, Allicion Blake, Dan Davis, Miles Powell and Liam Jones have all returned from injury, and together with the arrival of Jay Denniss and Ben Garnham, it has been like having several new signings.”

Garnham sustained suspected ankle ligament damage that is likely to rule him out for the rest of the season in Tuesday’s goalless draw at home to fifth-placed Haverhill Rovers as the injury curse that has blighted the Seasiders’ season struck again.

Ryland said: “Points like the one against Haverhill show that we can compete with anyone in this league –we don’t feel we have been outplayed by anyone – and I am confident we will stay up.

“We have got a quality bunch of lads. Everyone is mates and we often go out together on a Saturday night. There is a great team spirit and everyone is pulling in the same direction as we look forward to the rest of the season.”

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