CIRENCESTER TOWN captain Jamie Reid flies to New York on December 27 but it is another Christmas break that is uppermost in his mind.
It emerged last week that Reid had broken his right leg in a horror tackle during the home game with Paulton Rovers at the start of December.
Being sidelined is particularly frustrating for Reid who has been made club captain following the switch of his friend Matt Sysum to Evesham.
Essentially, midfielder Reid is the heartbeat of Cirencester Town – when he plays well, the team plays well. And they had earned a play-off place in the league table on the back of seven wins by mid-November – that’s as many victories as they achieved in their entire relegation season from the Southern Premier last term.
Cirencester were 1-0 up against Paulton when Ben Lacey received a yellow card – many said it should have been a red – for his late tackle on Reid early in the second half.
A clearly compromised Reid carried on after treatment before eventually limping off and his side slumped to a 3-1 defeat.
Since then the Reid-less team have put in a lacklustre display to lose at Poole and then an abject capitulation in the 6-1 home loss to Bridgwater.
“It was a bad tackle in the Paulton game and I tried to run it off which, in hindsight, was probably not the right thing to do,” said Reid.
“I had a lump on the side of my leg and did the usual icing and had treatment from Tony Dunn and Lisa, our sport therapist, but there was still a lot of painful bruising.
“A week on, I went into Gloucester Hospital and they said they were 98 per cent sure the leg was not broken and that I should just continue with the physio.
“Days later, I was still hobbling and unable to run on it so, last Thursday, Hughesey said to get myself up to Cirencester Hospital for an X-ray. The examination revealed that it was a proper break of the fibula, not even a hairline fracture, and they wanted to put me in an ankle-to-hip cast.
“I said there was no way that was going to happen as I was about to travel to New York. So they have put me in a protective boot instead.
“Apparently, the bone is already healing and I will have the boot on for just two to three weeks. I’m just going to have to take more taxis in New York.”
Reid is frustrated that he can’t be on the pitch helping his team-mates while they are going through their current sticky patch but he has earmarked a particular game for his comeback.
“Evesham away on January 26 is the game I want to be back for,” said Reid. “We will be taking on Sys and other Ciren old boys like Browner (Carl Brown) and Marcus Palmer, so there are some important bragging rights at stake.
“Hopefully, by then we will have stopped the rot because the play-offs remain the target.
“New coach ‘Mutley’ Saunders has made the point that we have got to work much harder off the ball and I think that is fair criticism.
“It doesn’t help that we have not had a settled back four since Sys left. He was colossal for us after coming back from his knee op but he left us in the lurch when he moved. Hopefully, the new signings like Ricky Allaway and Beeds (Jon Beeden) will bed in soon and I think Thommo (Chris Thompson) is better off playing in the back four rather than midfield.”
Reid also had a positive word for keeper Dave Evans, who conceded six goals on his debut against Bridgwater.
“I have known Dave for some time as we came through Gloucester U18s together," said Reid. "He is a good keeper and despite being under pressure in bad conditions for 90 minutes against Bridgwater he only made one mistake.”
Given that he was scheduled to miss only two games while away in the States (North Leigh and Supermarine), Reid finds himself selfishly hoping more games might be lost to the weather during his enforced absence.
“I have to admit that I was glad the Mangotsfield game on Saturday was called off and the same would go for the matches with in-form sides like Shortwood and Supermarine, two scraps I was really looking forward to," he said.
“But Evesham at the end of January is the game that holds my focus for now.”