Hyam: Fans' Good Wishes Appreciated
Thursday, 4th Jan 2018 16:20
Town midfielder Luke Hyam has relived his 19-month injury nightmare and thanked supporters for helping him to battle his way back to full fitness.
Hyam returned to action in Tuesday’s 4-1 defeat at Fulham, coming off the bench to replace Everton loanee Callum Connolly in the 82nd minute, but remains uncertain about his chances of being in manager Mick McCarthy’s starting line-up for Saturday’s FA Cup third round visit of Sheffield United to Portman Road.
He said: “I’m fit but not match fit. I’m available for selection and if I play, great. I’m just happy to be out there at the moment but I know I need a few games to get my match sharpness.
“If it’s not on Saturday I’ll be looking to play an U23 game and take it from there.”
Hyam, like boss McCarthy, has yet to experience an FA Cup win in his time with Town, whose last victory in the world’s oldest knockout competition came eight years ago at Blackpool when goals from Sunderland loanee Jack Colback and fellow midfielder Owen Garvan, a second-half substitute, earned a 2-1 win.
Ipswich-born Hyam said: “It’s been a bit of a nightmare in terms of the FA Cup so it would be nice to get through. I don’t know the team but whoever the manager puts out there will give 110 per cent and hopefully get a win to kick-start our season again.
“A nice cup run can always help to improve your league form at the same time so we’ll be looking to beat Sheffield United and follow it up with a win against Leeds the following week.”
Hyam cast his mind back to how his long-term injury problems started, recalling: “In pre-season 2016 I took a whack on the knee against Cambridge, which affected my nerves and I had nerve surgery the following November.
“I came back from that, trained for a bit and played a couple of U23 games in January 2017. In one of them I blocked a shot and unfortunately ruptured my ankle ligaments.
“At the end of that season I was fine but when I was doing all my bits and pieces in the summer, I got another freak injury when I was running and hurt my left knee.
“I eventually had surgery on that in September so it’s just been one thing after another during what I can only describe as a horrible 19 months. But here I am and, touch wood, it’s all behind me now and I can look to the future and enjoy my football again.
“When you’re not involved you try to take yourself away from football but it’s really nice, if I’m shopping or just out and about, to bump into Town fans. They have wished me well and I appreciate it.
“When they’ve said ‘I hope you’ll be back soon’ it has meant a lot to me and helped me to push on and get fit again.”
Hyam didn’t kick a ball in earnest last season when Town struggled and eventually finished in their lowest position for 58 years. “It was tough, really tough, and it was tough on the lads as well because we didn’t do too well,” he added.
“I was just trying to keep my head down and make sure I stayed in the right frame of mind. That was when the support I received from everyone around me mattered most and kept me on the right path.”
It is 40 years since Town celebrated their first and, so far, only FA Cup success but despite being a local boy Hyam explained how that achievement doesn’t mean as much to his family as it does to the many others who still have fond memories of the occasion.
He said: “My dad wasn’t in Ipswich then but I know the history of the club and it means a lot to me, as well as my family and friends. It would be lovely to get a cup run.”
Meanwhile, Hyam turned back to his injury problems and added: “The older you get and the more you learn about injuries, you’re that bit more experienced and you know your body better. I’ve been doing yoga and lots of stretching exercises, plus a bit of gym work.
“You need to know when your body needs to recover so it’s about being a bit more diligent with things. When you’re young you almost feel as if you’re invincible.
“In my early days I didn’t pick up any injuries and I thought that was the norm. But after the rough 19 months I’ve had with various problems, you realise your body is telling you something. You’ve got to be careful.
“When I was named on the bench for Tuesday’s game I’ll admit I was very anxious and nervous because I hadn’t done the preparation for a game for such a long time. But once you get out there it’s as if everything just goes away.
“Being the type of player I am, I will go in full-blooded and I’m not that nervous about doing it. In training, for the time being, I might stay away from it if I feel I’m going to get a whack, but in games I’ll go in with a full-blooded challenge, no problem.”
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