Matt Tootle back from 'weird injury' and ready to 'battle' for Boston United starting place

Defender impresses on return...

Matt Tootle. Photo: Oliver Atkin

Matt Tootle is over his 'weird injury' and expecting a battle to retain the right back slot.

The Boston United defender returned from a six-game absence as the Pilgrims beat East Thurrock 4-0 in the FA Cup on Saturday.

A sciatica problem had seen him out of action since the defeat at Fylde in August, but the 30-year-old showed no signs of fatigue with an impressive return to the side.

"It's been a weird injury I had. I landed on my back, my gluteus maximus, and it's been a nerve injury, so one for the physio (sports rehabilitator Hayden Clifton) to figure out what was happening," Tootle explained.

"But he's managed to fix it now.

"Frustrating for me as I didn't know the length of time (out of action) but I felt good and fit (against Thurrock).

"The worst thing you can do is just be sat in the stands watching, so I'm glad to be back out there."

Keenan Ferguson has been deputising for Tootle, but was rested this week due to a knee problem.

"Hopefully, I've done enough to give the manager a headache but Keenan's been great since I've been out," the former Crewe Alexandra and Notts County man added.

"I just want to be back in the team and it'll be a good battle between us now."

Manager Craig Elliott praised Tootle's fitness as he put in an energetic display on his return.

"I've been doing as much as I can (fitness wise). I haven't been able to do too much cardio, I did a lot of work on the astro last Saturday and trained well on Monday and Thursday, but I haven't done a great deal of running," Tootle explained.

"Luckily, although I'm 31 next week, I've been blessed with decent fitness. I'm trying to keep on top of it and eat well."

Reflecting on the Thurrock victory, Tootle added: "It was brilliant. In the last round as well we've looked convincing.

"I know we've been playing against lower opposition as well but it's harder than it looks.

"They had their chances at times as well, but 4-0 was more than deserving.

"We got caught out a couple of times being complacent at the back so we've got to work on that and make sure that kind of thing doesn't happen in the league.

"We want to play but we can't give it away in those areas."

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