Antwi upbeat despite injury blow

DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE defender Will Antwi has suffered a setback in his quest to return from injury.

by MIKE SIMMONDS

DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE defender Will Antwi has suffered a setback in his quest to return from injury.

The 27-year-old had been on the fringes of selection for the first team squad again after missing almost three months of the season with an ankle injury.

But in the recent behind-closed-doors friendly against Arsenal, Antwi suffered another blow, to further delay his return.


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Tendon

"I was coming back from an ankle and tendon injury and then in the 87th minute against Arsenal I tore my calf muscle," said the defender, who has now missed the last 10 games.

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"It was very frustrating and hard to quantify because I was just getting back to playing again and that happened.

"It wasn't really anything that happened in the game either and was only picked up when I went for an MRI scan later.

"I don't know if it was because I had been injured and you just pick up a few niggles when you're on your way back, but I have a timeline now and am working towards that.

"It's always better when you have a timeline because you know where you are and how you're progressing.

"When you don't have that, you don't know when you will be back and that is always difficult.

"I'm keeping myself busy every day though, but I haven't put a game date on my return, as if you miss that, it can be frustrating.

"I'm only a few weeks away though and I want to work hard and come back fitter, stronger and better mentally prepared."

Antwi's last action for Daggers was the 1-1 draw at Grimsby Town on December 5, when he suffered his original ankle injury after 81 minutes of the clash.

Since then, he has seen his team-mates win just three matches, losing the other seven, but the former Aldershot and Wycombe Wanderers man still feels they have every chance of winning promotion.

"Everyone in the squad thinks we can still reach the play-off places," he said,

"I don't know how many games are left, but even with six or seven to go, we will be in with a shout.

"When the team is winning you're upset because you can't get out there and play and when they're losing, you're upset, because you want to get out there and help them.

"The confidence has taken a slight dent recently, but I think we looked more like our old selves in the win over Bournemouth recently.

"We edged over the line that day and didn't just match them, we beat them, which was very important.

"We also matched Rochdale at the weekend, but didn't edge over the line that time.

"The scoreline was slightly flattering in their favour though and you could see from looking at our players that they are playing well again. They looked confident too, which is something that might have been missing for the last month to six weeks."

When Antwi left the field at Blundell Park in the fixture at Grimsby, he was replaced by young centre half Scott Doe.

Since his spell on the sidelines, Doe has hardly put a foot wrong alongside Mark Arber in the heart of defence, and Antwi has been impressed.

Extremely

"I think Scott Doe has come in and done extremely well," he said.

"The fact he has come in and shown he can play at this level is great for the club.

"We have so many talented youngsters around too. Danny Green has been consistently good this year, Josh Scott too in his first year of football, while Wesley Thomas impresses in his contributions as well.

"Damien McCrory was signed recently and it is such a compliment that he can come in and not look out of place straight away.

"Graeme Montgomery has got his chance too and he looked one of our most effective players in the victory over Bournemouth.

"They have been helped by the older players in the team too. Tony Roberts has marshalled the defence from the goal, while Mark Arber and Peter Gain are very experienced."

Antwi hasn't been the only significant member of the Daggers team missing recently as manager John Still was also absent from the trip to Spotland on Saturday.

The boss has missed a number of games over the last few weeks due to poor health and it's something that Antwi feels has affected the players.

"Any ship without their captain is going to find it hard and it has been a distraction," admitted the defender.

"It's like at your paper, it's always better with the editor there checking your work.

"Hopefully he will be back soon though as he is the main part of what this club is about."

Daggers are back at home this weekend, when struggling Grimsby Town come to Victoria Road.

And although he will not feature, Antwi remains confident his team-mates will come out on top.

Buoyed

"I think that Grimsby were buoyed by their new manager when we went up there earlier in the season and played well," he said.

"But we battled and got a good result, and it will be different on our patch.

"They're coming down to us and we can play how we want to play and hopefully get another important win."

The Post is now on Twitter, so if you follow twitter.com/Post_DagRed then you will get up to the minute updates on goings on at Victoria Road

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