TOM SHAW is ready to hand Chester a timely boost by returning to action just three weeks after ‘fearing the worst’ following an injury against Southport.
Shaw “took one for the team” by clumsily halting the run of former Blue, Ryan Higgins, but paid the ultimate price by suffering a knee injury during the challenge.
The midfielder caught his studs in the Southport turf and twisted his knee, which left Shaw, who failed in his attempt to ‘run it off’ expecting a prolonged spell on the sidelines.
But Shaw returned to training with Jon McCarthy’s men just 16 days after the injury and provided he suffers no problems during the remainder of the week he will be back in the squad for the home clash with Eastleigh on Saturday.
“I’m really chuffed,” said Shaw, an academy coach with Derby County. “I trained with the lads on Monday and if everything goes to plan then I am available for Saturday.
“I feared the worst to be honest after stopping Ryan with something more like a rugby league tackle.
“When you see those type of injuries where people get their studs caught in the turf and the knee twists it is usually bad.
“I’ve, touch wood, been fortunate with injuries during my whole career and now I am getting older I am doing my best to keep myself in the right shape.”
As a result of the injury Shaw missed only his third game of the National League campaign, the 30-year-old forced to watch the agonising defeat to Tranmere Rovers from his Nottingham base.
“I was gutted for the lads,” he said. “I had the whole family around, they’ve changed from Nottingham Forest fans to Chester fans.
“We couldn’t quite get the bounce of the ball, which was frustrating because I thought we deserved something from the game.”
Fingers crossed, Shaw will be able to help Chester bounce back from that derby defeat by picking up three points against Eastleigh on Saturday.
Jon McCarthy’s men have only played two home games since January 21 with their last win at the Deva coming on December 17 against Aldershot.
Shaw knows the need to put that record straight, explaining: “We need to give the fans a win.
“We are due a good performance at home.
“It has been a while since we won at home, although we haven’t played many games, and it is a while since we were at our best at home as well.”
Eastleigh will arrive in Chester with the home side looking to record what some people at the start of the campaign might have seen as a surprise double.
A 3-0 win in November made the rest of the division sit up and take notice of Chester, while also proving a point to the Blues squad.
“I think it proved to the lads that they were capable of mixing it with the big names in the league,” said Shaw. “We did great at their place. We weathered the storm and then we caught them on the break three times.
“We know they have plenty of strengths, but they also have weaknesses that we will be looking to exploit.
“The aim for us is to finish the league season strongly because there is a lot to play for as players who are all out of contract.”
On the current contract situation at Chester, Shaw, who is hoping to finalise fresh terms to stay for another season, added: “Everyone is out of contract and pushing to be part of a club that is going in the right direction.
“Training on Monday had a great tempo and there is real competition just to make the 16 on a matchday.
“The club is an exciting place to be.”
See full story in the Leader