Bell and Gray face lengthy spells out after suffering breaks

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JUST when Ashington thought their luck would turn a corner, so the injury jinx has struck the Woodhorn Lane club again.

Having suffered three major problems last season with long term injuries to Gareth Bainbridge, Darren Lough and Stephen Young, the new campaign saw Jonny Godsmark break his leg in the opening warm-up match.

Then came last week’s derby match against Whitley Bay at Hillheads where striker Phill Bell and midfielder Josh Gray both suffered breaks.

Bell has a broken ankle and Gray a broken metatarsal.

In Bell’s case it was doubly frustrating as the striker had only just returned after being out with a leg injury sustained at Jarrow Roofing in early March.

Bell, who was celebrating his 29th birthday this week, said: “Obviously I was out for three to four months last term and I worked really hard to get 100 per cent fit again.

“I played the last couple of warm-up games then the first three games of this season, and to get another serious injury is disappointing.”

The lecturer added: “It wasn’t a bad tackle – the guy won the ball. I crossed the ball and as I was doing so, the Bay lad has block tackled me; my foot was planted and it’s caused a break.

“I’ve got the ‘pot’ on for probably six weeks and then hopefully I’ll be starting my road to recovery and it should not be too long after that depending on how I progress.

“I go back to hospital next week to have my ankle X-rayed again and should everything still be the same – which I hope it will be – then it should be another five weeks from then before I return.

“That will be long enough too because it’s really frustrating.

“I could understand it if it was a related injury to before, like a re-occurrence, but it’s totally different.

“I’ll work hard to get back again and hope the lads keep going the way they are because they are in a good run at the moment.”

Recent newcomer Gray, 21, is equally dsappointed.

The former Darlington player said: “I want to get fit as soon as possible and start playing again.

“I was enjoying my football where I had played full games, which was something I had not done for a while.”

Gray, a barman as well as a student, heard a crack when he was tackled.

He added: “I ran past the Whitley Bay player who tried to stop me and I felt my foot crumble underneath. I heard a crack.

“I drove to South Tyneside Hospital where I was X-rayed and the results revealed a broken metatarsal and I’ll be in a cast for four weeks.

“The ironic thing is that I felt little pain – but there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m a quick healer and I’m hoping to be back within six weeks.

“It’s frustrating not playing but it’s even worse with the team playing well and winning.”

Manager Gary Middleton said: “The two bits of news are really difficult to swallow after losing Jonny [Godsmark] to a broken leg only four weeks ago.

“To have two breaks in one game beggars believe and the injuries are not normal ones but long term.

“It just feels as if when we are taking one step forward, someone keeps trying to knock us back.”