A man on the mend

Oakley talks to The Grecian about getting through injuries

Matt Oakley doesn’t do injuries by halves.  Last season, it was his shoulder ligaments that took the brunt of an awkward fall during City’s home game against Gillingham in March – ending his season there and then – and this time around, it has been Matt’s ankle ligaments that took the damage when the Grecians hosted Plymouth Argyle back in October.

So in our last home game against Oxford United, It was a pleasant and unexpected surprise to see the number 8 on the teamsheet for the first time since the Devon Derby earlier this season.

It marked another step on the road to recovery for the former Southampton, Derby and Leicester man after a frustrating 12 months.  Two serious injuries for the midfield maestro have been something of a step into the unknown – major problems aside, Oakley isn’t the type of player that has tended to pick up sprains, strains and tweaks throughout his career.

And this latter injury in particular has been a frustration because it didn’t even allowed Matt the chance to do the most rudimentary of exercise to keep up his base fitness for a month and a half.

“It has been disappointing on a personal level because they have been two such bad injuries,” says Oakley.  “I’ve never had the tendency to tear muscles – I’ve never had injuries like that in my career, which makes me quite lucky because some players can be out for a few weeks with a hamstring tweak, then come back in for a week and do it again and miss another fortnight.

“With my ankle, it has been a killer because I had two months where I could literally do nothing.  I couldn’t even get in the water to go for a swim, because they didn’t want me to move my foot in a certain way in case I damaged the ligament.”

You can read the full interview with Matt in Saturday’s issue of The Grecian, our matchday programme, which will be on sale around the ground at St James Park for £3.