Alex sees an end to injury hell
Fit-again Alex Gilbey admits he's champing at the bit to persuade Warren Joyce he deserves a place in WiganAthletic's survival bid.
The 22-year-old returned to full training on Monday after four months out with ankle ligament damage sustained against Fulhamin September.
He was expected back before Christmas, before a setback caused him to miss a further month – as well as the Joyce’s bedding-in period as Latics boss – leaving him anxious to make up for lost time.
“The new gaffer’s come in, and he doesn’t know what I’m capable of,” Gilbey told the Evening Post.
“I thought I started the season right well, I was really enjoying my football, enjoying being in the team, I thought I was helping, and we were playing well. All I can do now is concentrate on getting fully fit and back to impressing the gaffer.
“Watching the boys play has been tough – especially the home game when I’m in the stands. That’s been the hardest thing to be honest.”
Everything was going swimmingly for Gilbey, a summer signing from Colchester, when a promising start to the season was stopped dead in its tracks.
Having been Wigan’s outstanding player in pre-season, he’d enjoyed an impressive few weeks to the campaign before fate intervened.
And the road to recovery has been anything but smooth, with a cruel setback ensuring a further few weeks on the sidelines.
“After the initial surgery, I had to have another operation just before Christmas which put me back a few more weeks,” Gilbey revealed.
“They had to put in bolts and a wire when they did the original operation – a bolt on either side and then a wire through the middle to keep the bones together.
“It was all going fine, I went to the see the surgeon and everything was ‘happy days’.
“But it was causing me irritation when I was running – the more I was running, the worse it was getting.
“The bolt was rubbing on the bone, it was becoming too irritable, and they had to come out earlier than planned.
“It was one of those things that no-one expected to happen. I was going so well – running, jumping, kicking – but it felt like I was taking 10 steps forward and 20 back at one point.
“It’s frustrating, because the original plan was to be training the week before Christmas, and looking to feature before the New Year.
“It’s one of those things, but frustrating for myself and the medical staff. You just have to get on with it, but fortunately I’m nearly there.”