PILGRIMS defender Tom Ward has returned to action following his five-week injury lay-off… but admits the hard work starts now.
The young defender had overcome a baptism of fire, as he made the step up to Blue Square Bet North action from the reserve side in the summer, to make a central defensive place his own.
But Ward’s season was interrupted five weeks ago when, routinely blocking a shot in the FA Cup clash against Kidsgrove, he left the pitch on crutches after picking up an ankle ligament injury.
Forcing his way back to full fitness, he was a second-half substitute during Saturday’s defeat at Solihull.
But despite his recuperation, Ward knows the hard work is now adding to his 10 starts.
“It’s really good to be back, I’ve missed it,” he told The Standard.
“It was disheartening as I wanted to keep going, but I’m glad I got back.
“Now I’ve got to earn my place as there’s a lot of good players in the team, especially defenders.”
Since Ward’s injury, he has seen Nathan Stainfield join the squad and, before he also picked up an injury, hold down a regular place.
“It’s a competitive squad and you’ve got to earn your shirt,” Ward added.
“I’ve been saying for weeks I want to get back, so I’m glad that I am now.
“There’s more competition for places now, but that just drives you on to do better.”