Thursday, 8 October 2015

A quick word with captain Tommy Elphick

While the barriers tend to go up at the reception to the Vitality Stadium on match days since the team has reached the prowess of the top flight and more red carpet is seen around the entrance than the loose grit that used to adorn the surroundings, you can still manage to get close to the players and have a word with them now and again which is what I managed to do for a brief moment with Tommy Elphick before the team played Watford.

Tommy was not playing on the day as he had sustained an injury to his ankle a few weeks before when playing at Norwich City. The talk about the captain’s injury had died down rather since the club had informed everyone through the official website that Tommy had been to see a specialist in Sweden to get a second opinion on his troublesome joint that had swollen up after the game at the Canaries. So on seeing him walking, with more than a slight limp towards me, at the back of the Ted MacDougall side, I was momentarily shocked to see him walking gingerly towards me and chatting to people as he moved along. I had my camera in my hands and quickly shouted “Hi, Tommy!” at the top of my voice. I needed to get his attention to make sure he would put on a smile for me and sure enough he did.

I hope I don't have to wait to long to see this sight again.
Friendly as ever, he came right over to me and said hello before stopping and waiting to see what I was going to ask. “Hi, Tommy ,” I said “How’s the ankle?”

“Not good,” he said. “It’s still painful.”

I asked him about his trip to Sweden and how things went and he was a little more forthcoming.

“Yeah, I saw my specialist. He said it wasn’t good. He knows what it is though, which is something,” replied Tommy.

“Okay,” I said. “How long are you out for then?”

“Hard to say,” came to the reply.

“What a couple of months then,” I guessed, trying to eek out a more exact timescale for the recovery period.

“At least two months probably,” said Tommy “but I don’t think that is out yet officially.”

Oops, I hope I have not landed Tommy in it too deep by letting you all know that he is not expecting an early return to the team. But then that is our players, honest and approachable. I still hope that the club will say that Tommy is making great progress and early assessments may not be correct when things settle down and that we see him back sooner.

Still I was of course disappointed to hear the way things sound, but Tommy was very calm in his response and seemed to have come to terms with his own disappointment of missing some games. 

While not wanting to jump in before the club said anything more official about another probable long term injury I waited until the international break to post anything on the blog, but hearing that Tommy is not likely to feature in the next couple of months deprives the team of the player and his influence as a captain on the field, even if not off it. The players might have to get used to that for a bit.

He’ll bounce back as quick as he can I am sure, but things could have gone much better for Eddie Howe and for a lot of his players and as we have already heard it gives a chance for others to come into the team  and many have been staggered at just how well Sylvain Distin has played.

Sadly, I see that Christian Atsu is to miss the Ghana friendly against Canada as he has had a knock in training last week. Tokelo Rantie has also withdrawn from the Bafana Bafana international squad after a thigh injury. Let's hope we hear better news on the AFCB injury front soon.

Pleasingly, the players are still finding time though to talk to the fans and are willing to share their news. I believe they know how much us fans are willing them to succeed and are praying that they can all recover quicker than expected. Whatever knocks they seem to get, our players are there to give something back to the fans and I think that is tremendous in these times. I believe a lot of that is down to the way Eddie Howe has told the players how important the fans are to the club and no matter what happens this season, all the players know we will do everything we can to help them through the difficult times.

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