Fogden fitness concern a frustration for Hawks

Hawks midfielder Wes Fogden   Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Hawks midfielder Wes Fogden Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Jaosn Prior. Picture: Keith Woodland

Late heartbreak for Hawks

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There is growing concern in the Hawks ranks concerning the fitness of key midfielder Wes Fogden.

Fogden limped off during the first half of the Hawks’ 2-1 defeat at Merstham with a hamstring problem.

It is the third time this season the 28-year-old has been forced out of action due to injury.

Manager Lee Bradbury admitted when he signed Fogden from Yeovil during the summer that one of the keys to success would be keeping the experienced midfielder fit.

After last season’s relegation from National League South, Bradbury immediately set about remodelling his Hawks side in a bid to go straight back up.

The energy, quality and experience that Fogden brings was seen as a crucial part of his plans.

Though Fogden has managed 13 league appearances so far this season, he has only completed five of them.

Bradbury knows he needs to have his key player out on the pitch and not on the sidelines.

The manager admits the next five months are important for both him as a manager and the club.

‘It is frustrating for us and the player,’ said Bradbury.

‘He doesn’t seem to be able to get any rhythm at the moment, playing a couple of games and then being out again.

‘Wes is a big player for us and it is a concern that he is only dipping in and out of the team at the moment.

‘He only knows one way to play and train and that is full on.

‘During his career he has had two major knee operations and that can have an affect on the rest of the body.

‘We have to be patient with him because as much as we want him playing and can’t risk bringing him back too early.

‘He is on a strength and conditioning programme but we won’t put too much pressure on him to play.

‘It won’t be any good if we bring him back and he keeps breaking down.’

Adversity is nothing new for Fogden who had to show his determination early in his career at Brighton & Hove Albion.

As an 18-year-old with the Seagulls, the youngster was diagnosed with a tumour on his spine and told he was unlikely to play again.

However he underwent successful surgery and after spending three months in a restrictive body cast fought his way back.

He was signed by Bradbury, who was then manager of AFC Bournemouth, and has since played professionally at Pompey and Yeovil.

In the first half of last season he made 18 appearances for Yeovil, scoring twice, before injury ruled him out for the second half of the season.

Bradbury decided to take a gamble on his fitness and the success of that is now in the balance.

‘You couldn’t wish for a nicer more committed player than Wes Fogden,’ said Bradbury.

‘His enthusiasm is infectious throughout the whole team.

‘Next time he returns we want it to be full steam ahead for the rest of the season.’