Rarely will you ever hear players say that they are 100% and not feeling little niggles or having slight problems irrespective of what time of year it is, but now even more than ever is that the case, when we may have been asking players to just give us that little bit more, and perhaps train or play when we have not done so before.
Don't get me wrong, we would never put players in danger or intentionally put them in a situation where we knew they were at risk, but we may have asked them to do things where previously we would have erred on the side of caution and made sure everything was ‘A – ok’ and in the best possible shape it could be. Thankfully we have a manager who understands not just the game, but also the mentality of players and physical demands.
Unlike some other managers who may apply pressure to their Medical and Sports Science Teams to get players back, the gaffer is acutely aware that we will endeavour to do that for him and we have a trust between us that we will always do what is in the best interests of the players, team and group.
You may have noticed, if you've been to the last few games (home and away) that, we’ve changed things slightly with regards to injuries on the pitch. I personally have never been a massive fan of two people running on to the pitch to treat a player, we’ve seen it abroad for years and it’s something that has developed in the British game recently.
It is something we are trialing at present, but it is not something we are doing just to fit in with a trend or because it makes us look good. For us to do it, we have to have a reason and a need to do so. Managing an on-field injury can be pressured and difficult at the best of times, you have opponents telling you there’s nothing wrong with your player, the referee asking how long you’re going to be or trying to rush you and your own players asking for drinks or telling you there’s something wrong with them. Without all that you’re trying to assess an injury and whether that person is capable of playing on or not, add to that a voice in your ear from the sideline asking if he's ok? Can he carry on? What’s wrong with him? It becomes an impossible task. Add to this then having to press you’re radio to send a message and let the bench know what is happening and you are at risk of the situation becoming confused or message misunderstood. So to try and help alleviate this pressure, Matt now runs on with Steve and becomes his point of contact.
Steve as Head Physio relays through Matt exactly what’s wrong and operates the radio to keep the sideline in touch with progress and whether a player can carry on. This should hopefully make communication better for us all resulting in the Gaffer and coaches have access to information quicker. So putting my own opinions and old fashioned values aside, if this means that we are better served and more efficient at our respective jobs, providing the Gaffer with better and quicker information, so be it.