Webster: Too Long Since Last Start
Monday, 7th Aug 2017 16:18
Adam Webster is ready to bridge a seven-month gap and make his first competitive start for Town in tomorrow night’s Carabao Cup first round clash at Luton.
Manager Mick McCarthy has confirmed he will reshuffle his line-up following Saturday’s 1-0 opening-day win over Birmingham and one of the anticipated changes will see the ex-Portsmouth player, a 74th minute substitute for Dominic Iorfa at the weekend, restored to the defence.
The last time Webster started for Town was in the 3-2 home win over Blackburn in January this year and after sustaining an ankle injury in training two days later he was given the shattering news that he was unlikely to fit to return to action until the new campaign.
But 22-year-old Webster did return ahead of schedule, as a substitute in the final game of last season at Nottingham Forest, although a place in the starting line-up for the trip to Kenilworth Road will be a significant step in the right direction as he seeks to regain his place in McCarthy’s side.
Webster said: “I was talking to the physio this morning, trying to figure out when I had last started a competitive game, and we remembered it was against Blackburn. That was just before I picked up the ankle injury.
“It’s been a long time and hopefully all that is behind me now. I did it in training the day before our FA Cup replay at Lincoln.
"I went to win a ball and it just gave way as I rolled it. I didn’t think it was that bad as I’d done it before and it was much more painful then.
"I even thought I’d be okay to play at Lincoln the next day. But definitely not – it wasn’t good.
“They said I wouldn’t play until the new season but you’ve got to set your targets. I just wanted to get back and it was nice to get on at Forest on the final day back in May.
"When you’re injured it’s not the nicest of times because you want to be out there with the rest of the players and playing.
“There are a lot of long days as you put the work in to get back as quickly as you can. But I’d been there before and I knew what was to come.
"Now I’m fit it’s about trying to get back in the team and then, once I’ve done that, the target will be to stay there. I’ll be as hungry as anyone.”
Webster, who cost around £700,000 from Pompey in June last year with Matt Clarke moving in the opposite direction, started life at Portman Road with an impressive run of performances that alerted several Premier League clubs to his potential – but the injury soon put paid to the transfer speculation that was starting to build up.
His appearance at the weekend was a sure sign that Webster is challenging the likes of skipper Luke Chambers and Tommy Smith for a place in McCarthy’s first team, regardless of whether he sticks with the 3-5-2 formation deployed against Birmingham or reverts back to the more tried and tested 4-4-2 system.
Webster said: “I didn’t play too often in a 3-5-2 shape at Portsmouth, only occasionally, but we played it here last year just before I got injured and we did well with it, so it’s a system that suits us and hopefully we can do well with it.
“Tommy and Luke are very experienced at this level and they have played a lot of games together as well. But if the gaffer goes to four at the back I’ve got to try to claim one of the two places in the middle.
“I played on the left side at Portsmouth before I came here and that was for a whole year. But I’m comfortable on either side. Chambo likes playing on the left as well – we had that little argument in pre-season – and obviously Tommy is left-footed.
"But we’ve all got to stick together because we’re a team at the end of the day and we have to get along.”
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