GTF to miss start of pre-season

Blackpool's Gary Taylor-Fletcher
Blackpool's Gary Taylor-Fletcher
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GARY Taylor-Fletcher still hasn’t shaken off the ankle injury which forced him to miss the play-off final at Wembley.

The Blackpool striker has been having regular sessions with club physio Phil Horner for the last three weeks and had an injection yesterday in a bid to accelerate his recovery.

Taylor-Fletcher went over in his ankle in training an hour before the team departed for the Wembley clash with West Ham last month.

His ankle ballooned, but such was his desperation to play the frontman had a fitness test on the morning of the game and came within a whisker of starting.

It is probably a good job he didn’t – when the swelling went down, a scan revealed he had torn three ligaments.

The injury, expected to take eight to ten weeks to heal, is still troubling him.

Taylor-Fletcher said: “It hasn’t been ideal going to see the physio every day for the last few weeks, but it needs to be done if I want to get it right.

“When I first did it, I had a feeling it might be serious but I didn’t know for sure. It was too swollen to go for a scan and we were due to get on the coach to Wembley.

“It was a massive game that I was desperate to play in, so I had the fitness test on the morning of the match. That might have done more damage but for an occasion like that you’ve got to try to play.

“I gave it everything I could and I was very close to starting. It would probably have made it a lot worse and I’d have done a lot more damage.

“So it is possibly a good job I didn’t play. It was quite bad. As well as tearing three ligaments in the outside of the ankle, there was a slight tear between the two bones in the bottom of my leg. It was pretty painful.

“The day we get back for pre-season (Thursday, July 12), it will have been eight weeks since I did it. It will be a little soon to start full training then, but hopefully this injection I’ve had will help speed things up and I’ll be all right.”

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Taylor-Fletcher went on holiday with his family after the play-off heartbreak. And even after a few weeks’ break from football, he admits it is still hard to stomach how things turned out.

The 30-year-old added: “It was really disappointing to lose the final and then it hurts again when the fixtures come out and you see West Ham have got Aston Villa at home first game.

“The worst thing about Wembley was that I never had a chance to have a say in the game. But you have to move forward and push on, and the squad we’ve still got is going to be right up there again challenging.

“We’ve got the majority of lads who played most of the season, so if we could get the likes of Dobbs (Stephen Dobbie) on a permanent and Roman (Bednar) signed up, then I think we’ll have a great squad and a great chance.”

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