THE WITTON COLUMN – a club update, with media assistant Paul Harper

WE are only a week or so into the new season and already injuries are catching up with Witton Albion.

We’ve not had much luck with them at all! They are part and parcel of the game, but you can’t help but feel like we’ve had more than our fair share in recent times.

There was Nick Ryan a couple of seasons ago, Will Booth last season and now captain Rob Hopley could be out for a long period with a knee injury.

Rob was injured during a pre-season friendly against Kidsgrove earlier this month. Involved in an innocuous challenge with a defender, he went down in a lot of pain.

Further examinations have revealed that he has snapped his anterior cruciate ligament and a medial collateral ligament, tendon and lateral meniscus tear.

All in all, it’s terribly sad news and we wish Rob all the very best in his recovery.

It is a big blow to the team. Rob is the skipper and brings a great deal of leadership qualities as well as plenty of experience to a side packed with a lot of young players.

Another player can step into the team in his absence, but replacing that experience and leadership will be a tough task.

Not only are Albion without their captain, but we also have a number of injuries to other key players.

The aforementioned Will Booth is still on his way back to fitness after suffering a bad knee injury last term, while James Foley and Chris Noone also suffered injuries during the pre-season programme.

Add on top of that a knock to Tom Owens, picked up in the fixture against Mickleover Sports, and you have a fairly good five-a-side team sitting on the sidelines.

As I said, injuries are part and parcel of the game, and all teams will suffer with them over the course of the season, but it does feel like Witton have been rather unlucky with them so far this season.

Hopefully, some of those players will get back to full fitness soon and be back out on the pitch doing what they do best in the not too distant future.

Absences have led to opportunities for others. Manager Carl Macauley has a young squad, and a couple of very young players have come into the reckoning in the early stages of the season and don’t look out of place

Midfielder Tom Edwards has come through the junior sides while defender Stefan Sorensen was part of the club’s Football & Education Academy system last year.

It is fantastic to see the progression paths available for young players coming to Witton Albion and the opportunities available to them.

They both look fantastic prospects and have shown glimpses of that talent in their brief appearances so far, and we’re looking forward to seeing more.