FOOTBALL: Rebels' Woodford set to return for title push

RYAN WOODFORD has set his sights on a return to action within three weeks to help boost Worthing in their promotion push.

The 21-year-old midfielder tore medial knee ligaments in his first start for Rebels back in November against Whyteleafe.

It was a major blow for both the ex-England Colleges captain and manager Simon Colbran, as Woodford had impressed in his two previous substitute appearances, as well as producing a strong first half performance in the Whyteleafe game.

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His first substitute appearance saw him send the game against Horsham YMCA in the Sussex Senior Cup to extra-time when he netted the equaliser within six minutes of being on the field.

Since the injury, which put him in a full leg splint, he has been working hard with a physio and knee specialist to return as soon as possible and hopes to return just in time to boost the promotion battle.

He said: "I'm starting some light training next week so, hopefully, it'll be a lot quicker than we first thought, which will be good and it's got me buzzing.

"The lads have been doing fantastic, although there have been a few injury problems. We've got to treat every game as a cup final now.

After speaking to the chairman, I know the club has been close to going up the past couple of seasons and that is where everyone wants to go.

"So, for me, it's a great time to get back for the promotion charge, get out there and then smash it up into the premier division.

"I was absolutely gutted when I first did it as it came out of the blue from a 50/50 challenge. I knew straight away it was bad. I went into the challenge and had never felt pain like that before and I heard a slight ping."

Woodford, who has previously played for Andover and Eastleigh, was dealt a double blow with his injury as he had just been selected for England's University side.

The forms came through on the Monday before his injury but he still hopes to get back involved with the side for their games in March.

Woodford also had great praise for the Worthing fans and Colbran, and said: "To get out and play in front of the home fans was fantastic.

They're a great bunch and really get behind the team. It's excellent to hear. I've played in front of a few hundred people a few times and they are definitely the loudest. I'd also like to thank the gaffer. He's been brilliant, offering lots of support and has been in touch a lot."

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