Ashington’s Blandford rules out for rest of season

Scott Blandford in action for Ashington. Picture by Ian Appleby -
Scott Blandford in action for Ashington. Picture by Ian Appleby -

Ashington FC will be without the services of utility player Scott Blandford for the remainder of the season.

The 30-year-old came off in the home game against Bishop Auckland in October with a knee injury.

And at the weekend he said he now faces surgery during the summer months.

Incredibly Blandford has only missed two league games and three cup clashes due to weather enforced postponements.

“I pulled my hamstring at the start of the season in the local derby against Bedlington Terriers,” he said.

“It may not have been back up to strength and consequently I reckon I was putting force onto my knee.

“After seeing a specialist the diagnosis is that my cartilage needs to be reattached, and it is the same knee that I tore a medial collateral ligament four years ago whilst I was at Blyth Spartans.”

Ashington-born Blandford added: “Up until Christmas, the knee was improving, although I was still getting pain.

“Now, although I am still experiencing instability, the pain has gone.”

Blandford rejoined the Colliers at the start of the campaign from Whitley Bay

“I was excited at the chance to come back. I played alongside coach Lee Anderson during a previous spell with the club at the old Portland Park ground.” he said.

“I’m good friends with manager Steve Harmison and I have worked with head coach Ian Skinner when I was at Bedlington.”

Blandford can operate in various roles but admits his preference is a midfield berth.

He said: “Earlier in the season I enjoyed my stint in the team at right back because in that position you get more of the ball.

“But my favoured place is centre midfield.”

A production worker at car giants Nissan, Blandford confessed to being the world’s worst watcher when not involved.

“I hate it,” he said, “It’s hard just to be in the ground because I’m trying to kick every ball.

“I travelled down to Dronfield for the game in the FA Vase and at times I had to turn away. That’s how bad it is. ”

Head coach Skinner said: “It’s frustrating and Scott is another long term injury victim of which we seem to have had a few with James Harmison, James Taylor and Dylan Williamson, but it’s part and parcel of the game and you need to plan for that.

“Scott, who has got that utility player tag where he can play off the front players, in centre midfield, at centre half or full back, missed a few games through work and then because of a niggle.

“He got back in the side at full back and did really well and he’s comfortable on the ball.

“When our keeper gets the ball, we like our centre backs to split and full backs to go a little bit higher, and Scott was excellent at that.

“He gave good quality on the ball and the way we like to play through the thirds, he helped us do that by getting on the ball in full back areas and being confident to carry the ball and deliver a good pass.

“We’ve been without him for quite a bit of time now but we’ve got lads like Ben Christensen and Kyle Oliver who can play right back.

“We are covered in that area, but with Scott’s enforced absence it’s one less option for us and an option that would still be nice to have.

“We wish Scott well in his recovery and we will support him in whatever way he sees fit.”