Thu, 07 Feb 2019
PLAYER/manager Ian Herring has admitted that patience is required with regards to the fitness of Hungerford Town midfielder Callum Willmoth.
The 27-year-old has been out of action for 17 months after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament during an FA Cup clash with Billericay Town in November 2017.
Willmoth required surgery ruling him out for the rest of the 2017/18 season.
The midfielder made his long-awaited return for Hungerford during their 5-0 friendly win against Royal Wootton Bassett on Tuesday night and Herring was delighted with his contribution.
“It was an opportunity for him to get some minutes after a long lay-off,” said Herring, who this week announced that he was retiring from playing. “He has been out for 17 months and he came back to us during pre-season and kind of rushed a few little things.
“For him to be back on a football pitch is fantastic because it’s been a long, dark journey and he has shown a lot of mental strength and perseverance.”
Although the midfielder played 45 minutes, Herring is not going to rush him back into the side.
He said: “It’s an injury which could end people’s careers, so first and foremost it’s great to see him back and if we can get him back to somewhere near what he was before he got injured, then it can help Hungerford Town.
“As for a time frame, we have to be patient and we have to take Callum’s advice and the physio’s advice on it all.”
Hungerford return to Bulpit Lane on Saturday as they face promotion-chasing St Albans City, aiming to bounce back from last week’s 4-1 defeat to Chelmsford City.
“It was very frustrating and a disappointing result,” admitted Herring. “I was very annoyed with the first two goals because I felt we could have dealt with them better.
“I need to see how we can prevent this from happening, but we had chances of our own in the first half.
“I think Cam [Hargreaves] should have scored and we’ve also hit the bar twice in quick succession.
“It was just one of those days, but we were better in the second half.”
Preparations have been challenging for Hungerford with training facilities difficult to find – one of the reasons why Tuesday’s friendly was arranged.
Herring said: “We have been having it tough recently in the sense of not being able to train due to the weather and also not having a second facility.
“It was partly the reason why we arranged the friendly, but I also wanted to give minutes to players who haven’t been playing.”
And with recent results going against them, Herring has challenged his side to become more of a threat in matches.
“The last few results have been disappointing,” he said. “We’re in a position now where mistakes need to be fewer and we need to be more ruthless in both boxes.
“The games are running out and although we’re not at a critical stage yet, we have to turn performances into points.”