MANSFIELD Town defender John Thompson was a happy man tonight after getting through his first 90 minutes in a Mansfield shirt in a 0-0 draw at Telford.
And the former Irish international, signed in the summer, admitted there were times he thought his career may be over after that horrendous pre-season challenge by Ilkeston’s Gary Ricketts that left him with a badly broken nose and over 40 facial stitches in a pre-season friendly.
“I am very happy to get through 90 minutes as it’s been nearly four months since the injury,” he said.
“I was a great feeling to be out on the pitch again playing football as there were times when I didn’t think I was going to get back.
“It was a bad injury. Everyone has seen the pictures and I have quite a few others where it looks worse.
“I had to stay in the house for over a month, eating and drinking through straws and it wasn’t a nice time for my family or anyone.
“It’s been a long road. I have taken little steps and am back now which is brilliant.
“I am generally a tough character and as soon as I was back on the training ground I realised I was just heading balls and doings things naturally. So it doesn’t really concern me now.
“I have hit the 30 mark while I’ve been injured and I have to admit I am getting on a bit now. But I am generally a fit lad.
“Everyone at the club has been absolutely brilliant with me – the manager, the chairman, who came to see me at home, and the physio, Jason Truscott, who has gone now, looked after me well. I hope I can repay them all with more clean sheets.”
With Thompson’s debut came the club’s first clean sheet in 12 games.
He said: “We came here with the aim of getting a clean sheet and we did that. I thought the back four were brilliant today and on another day we’d have scored a goal or two as well. We just lacked that killer instinct in front of goal.
“There were a lot of positives to take from today.”