Popular midfielder Tom Pett reappeared for the Imps last weekend against Peterborough after a long spell on the sidelines.
His last outing for the Imps was in the 3-0 defeat against Colchester at the end of last season, with two injuries putting him out of action until recently.
I’ve been speaking to him as part of my programme notes for the Bolton game, during which he opens up about the challenges facing players who experience long-term injuries and how it can affect a player’s mental well-being.
“It definitely affects you,” he said, whilst chatting after last night’s FA Cup draw.
“It’s not just you either, it’s your family, your girlfriend, wide whoever. You have to have strong people around you and I’ve been really lucky. My girlfriend has been amazing, she’s helped me through it and my Mum, Dad, brother and sister have been brilliant as well.
“They’ve seen me at my lowest and helped me through those times. There’s nothing worse than being injured and wanting to be out there helping your teammates on a Saturday, or being in the gym as they’re heading out onto the pitches doing what you love to do best. It’s very tough.”
Our chat was delayed by half an hour after we initially scheduled it for 7pm; clashing with the draw for the first round of the cup. Tom had more than a singular interest in the draw too; whilst his primary concern is Lincoln City, all three of his former clubs were also in the hat; Stevenage, Potters Bar and Wealdstone.
Reacting to us pulling Ipswich out of the bag, Tom said;
“It’s a toughie; obviously league table-wise it’s the toughest we could have got away from home. We’ll take a big crowd there and I’m sure it’ll be a great atmosphere. We’ll go there believing we can get a good result.
“I was hoping we’d sneak one of my former teams away or at home. If we’d got Potters Bar Town that would have been a minute’s drive from my home, so it would have been nice for the family and maybe even the town to go and watch. Hopefully, they can sneak through the second round, we can do and we can draw them out.
“I’d be pleased to play Wealdstone as well, I’m pleased for them as they’ve both got big draws to be fair so good luck to them.”
The draw was slightly odd in that the biggest tie wasn’t actually a tie at all; one side received a bye which was met with the biggest cheer of the night. Chichester Town just managed to stay in the hat as Peterborough drew Stevenage, meaning a big windfall for the Lilywhites who only formed in 2000.
“It’s worth over £30,000 to Chichester and I know from playing at that level myself what a difference it can make. I’m sure the owners and the chairman will go to bed very happy people tonight. To be guaranteed that sort of money is great, but it’s also good to be in the draw for round two which is an achievement for them. The players wanted a nice draw but to say they’re already in round two is something nobody else can say right now.”
Away from the cup, Tom is relishing life under Michael Appleton, as a new manager brings a bonus to the players which we as fans perhaps don’t fully appreciate.
“Working under the new gaffer, there isn’t a lot of difference in styles from the beginning of the season. We still want to pass the ball and create chances and the players aren’t going to go away from that. The gaffer is always on the grass, he’s really involved and all the sessions were doing now are new which is important.
“It’s exciting going into training because they’re sessions and ideas we’ve not seen before. I’ve only been out there for three weeks so I haven’t seen the full extent of the upheaval, but it’s an exciting period now. We’ve got to move on as a club, players and staff and hopefully, we can be a success this season.”
You can read more from Tom in this weekend’s programme, including his battle against injury, his university dissertation and how it crosses over into real life and which of our current squad he’d like to see in the celebrity jungle programme.