Leiston striker Ollie Mann frustrated at being sidelined by knee injury
OLLIE Mann has spoken of the “incredibly frustrating” start to his career at Leiston.
The striker has played just three competitive matches since his switch to the Ryman League Premier Division newcomers.
After suffering food poisoning while on holiday which disrupted his pre-season, the much-coveted striker has been struck down by a knee injury.
The 23-year-old joined Leiston on a two-year deal in the summer, after establishing himself as one of the most prolific strikers at non-league level in East Anglia.
Mann netted 103 times for Brantham Athletic in three seasons, even though he missed several weeks of last season following an operation on his left knee in February.
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It is that same knee which has sidelined him this season.
Mann said: “I have had a problem with my left knee for around two-and-a-half years now, and it has just come to a head.
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“After suffering from food poisoning on holiday I was struggling from day one with my knee, but because I am young I initially tried to carry on playing.
“But I am in too much pain to continue playing and it is affecting both my work and my personal life.
“No-one knows the true extent of the injury at the moment, but I am seeing the consultant who did the operation in February in three weeks’ time.
“I will hopefully have an MRI scan and we will know more then.
“It has been incredibly frustrating as I went to Leiston with a lot of expectations on my shoulders, but you have to be fully fit to do yourself justice and I am most definitely not.
“I am really disappointed that I have not been able to fulfil those expectations.”
Leiston manager Mark Morsley is equally frustrated at seeing Mann sidelined.
“We are waiting to get the correct diagnosis.
“We tried to do it through the club, but Ollie would rather wait and see someone else.
“Ollie is on a two-year deal and we want to see him playing for Leiston, but we have no idea of timescales as to when that will be.”
Striker Danny Smy has returned to Leiston, after leaving in the summer due to his work commitments and instead signing for Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division Felixstowe & Walton United.
However, a change in his work shifts has enabled Smy, who is a postman, to return to Victory Road.
Morsley said: “Out of those players who left in the summer he was the one I never wanted him to go.
“A change in his work patterns means that it was worthwhile him coming back, and he is a massive signing for us.”
A controversial equaliser saw Leiston held to a 1-1 draw at home against Canvey Island last Saturday.
Morsley added: “We were bitterly disappointed not to win, but Steve Tilson (the Canvey manager) said to me afterwards how much we had improved since we lost to them just six weeks earlier.
“We are showing signs of progress and we have still not lost at home.
“We knew it would be a difficult season – we are a small fish in this league – but I am really enjoying the challenge.
“If we finish in a reasonable position this season it will be my biggest achievement as a manager.”