Chris Clements was trying to put on a brave face as he began trying to shake off a torn hamstring which brought his promising Mansfield Town season to a shuddering halt last weekend.
Midfield ace Clements, who missed a chunk of last season with injury after also finding top form, limped off just after the break in last weekend’s home 3-2 win against Carlisle. He said: “It is a horrible time to get injured as I was just establishing myself in the team and starting to play well. But it’s something I have got to get over and I hope I will come back stronger.
“I was just tracking back – something I have started doing – and I felt a pop. I thought it might be cramp, but then I thought cramp just after half-time – what’s wrong with me? Then I couldn’t run on it and I just knew.
“I thought I was doing pretty well, and this sort of thing always seems to happen when you’re playing well.
“But when I got injured last year I came back even better and I hope to do that again this year.”
Clements has been impressed by the club’s start to the campaign.
“I think we have done well this year,” he said. “We have started well like last year and now we need to kick on and keep playing like we have been lately.
“We battered Morecambe in the game last week and we don’t fear anyone in this league.
“The first half was a pretty easy game to play in. But they just threw everything at us in the second half. That was not us in that second half. It was a bad second half at the office. But after actually conceding two goals, in previous years I think we’d have collapsed and conceded three or four. It just shows the resilience in the team to hold on for that victory.
“Players are working hard for each other and fighting for the cause. That’s what you’ve got to do with a smaller squad. Everyone has got to pull their weight. We would all run through a brick wall for each other.”
Knows as a ball player, Clements is quite happy with the side playing a direct game as long as they know when to mix it up.
He said: “As a team we are direct and that’s what got us out of the Conference and into the Football League, so it shows it does work. But you do have to mix it up sometimes. When teams know you are going to go direct, you have to mix it up, play some football and bring them out.”
Clements will miss out on tomorrow’s trip to Stevenage as he put in the hours on his rehabilitation.
“Stevenage is a tough place to go but we are confident we can get something out of it. Even a draw would be a good result, but I think we can beat them,” he said.
“I will be working hard in the gym or swimming and trying to get back as soon as possible. It is weird and very surreal not to be walking out at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon.”
Manager Paul Cox said: “Chris has been excellent. He is evolving as a young player and will be a massive miss for us. His performances, especially over the last two or three games, have been excellent.”