While it may be frustrating for all footballers at the minute, 2019-20 couldn’t have been more galling for on-loan midfielder Regan Slater.
The 20-year-old suffered an ankle injury in training in November before undergoing an operation in December. The Sheffield United loanee was edging back to a return prior to COVID-19 suspending the campaign, but Slater is eager to be in a position to be selected once the EFL resumes.
Speaking overall about his season, he said: “Obviously it has been very frustrating. It’s not ideal for anyone.
“Regarding the recovery from the initial operation, it was good. There was a little bit of a mess about at one point regarding a scan, which probably added a bit more time to the process, but I just had to get on with it.
"That was the most frustrating thing for me, it was a setback. The injury alone was enough, but the additional setback was very frustrating. I’ve worked hard to get back fit and now here I am.”
Scunthorpe’s number 27 for the campaign managed 15 appearances in all competitions for the side prior to his innocuous injury. With nine games to go of the season, and with it currently suspended, he spoke on his thoughts of donning the Iron jersey before the end of his loan spell.
“I’m pretty confident (on wearing claret and blue again),” he continued.
“I want to play games and that’s what I came to Scunthorpe this season to do. I was looking the other day, I’ve missed 20-odd games, which is half the season, which isn’t ideal at all. I’ve worked really hard to get back for the games we’ve got left for the rest of the season.
“I’m feeling pretty good. The first few sessions back in training were a bit harsh on my chest, but after that it was back into the swing of things really. I’m not a million miles away at all. I managed to get 60 minutes in for Sheffield United’s Under-23s before games were stopped and since I’ve managed to get the intensity a bit higher as well.”
The initial suspension of football would have taken us until April 3rd, with games now cancelled across the fourth month of the calendar year full stop. That, if anything, buys the midfielder time to ensure he’s fit going into the remaining nine games - if and when they are to resume.
“From a selfish point of view, the games being put back has given me a better chance of being involved in a few more games than I might have,” he stated.
“It doesn’t help that we’re not in every day. We go out and do our own running, but things are never going to be to the intensity of a training session. Being at football, you’re getting fit or maintaining your fitness, but you’re with the boys and you’re having a good craic as well. To go and do it on your own is a completely different ball game.”
On the situation, Slater put into context some of the discussions that have been made public regarding the remainder of the season, the potential to play behind-closed-doors and his thoughts on 2019-20 being cancelled - with a vested interest in the Blades who have done so well in the Premier League this year.
“I wouldn’t want games to resume behind closed doors,” he said, first and foremost.
“Football is there for entertainment and for a lot of people across the world. If the fans aren’t there, it takes away from the game. I watched some football on TV before matches were suspended and they were behind closed doors and it felt like a reserve game. It felt as though it wasn’t real.
“I’m not entirely sure what should happen with the season, but whatever does happen, someone is going to be upset by it. Obviously everyone has mixed opinions, but I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. They’ll make the decisions and we’ll have to live with it.
“For example, a club like Sheffield United would be frustrated with the season being null and void. No one expected them to be where they are and I know they’re trying really hard to be where the are every day. The lower clubs in divisions, meanwhile, would be happy with the season being null and void.”
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