Midfielder Stuart Sinclair admits that it has been a difficult period of time for him being on the sidelines with injury, revealing that it’s ‘hard to stomach’ watching the team from the sidelines.
The fans favourite, who turned 32 in November, has only managed four games since picking up an injury against Mansfield Town at the end of October and whilst Sinclair knows that injuries are part and parcel of being a footballer, he concedes that it’s still very frustrating.
“As you play more games in your career and you stay in the game for a longer period of time, you understand that you’re not going to be able to play every game and injury is part of playing football,” he started.
“It’s hard to explain how frustrating it is really because you’re so used to playing games and making a positive effect on a Saturday that is becomes tough to just sit there and watch things pass you by.
“It’s difficult, it’s horrible and it’s frustrating.
“Irrelevant of how many times you have been injured in your career, every time you turn up to a game on a Saturday or on a Tuesday and you know you can’t truly effect what is going to happen in the 90 minutes, it’s hard to watch.
“I find it really hard to watch but you’ve got to understand that it is part of football and it is just one of those things.”
And Sinclair revealed that during his injury, he has taken to watching games from the gantry with analyst Calum Hayes in order to try and offer a different perspective on things for the 11 players who are on the pitch.
“You can try and affect things in different ways by like being around the boys and doing certain things in training to try and help them,” he continued.
“I like to watch the game with Cal, our analyst, from the gantry and I try and help the lads when I come down at half-time and say things like ‘this might help us in one area’ or ‘this might help us in another area’.
“At the end of the day, it’s still not being out there on the pitch and that is ultimately what you want to be doing and it’s what you strive and work so hard for.”
Trying to be an influence off the pitch whilst he isn’t on it is something that Sinclair feels is currently helping him get through his spell on the sidelines.
Sinclair, who was a fairly late bloomer in terms of making his football league debut, with his first start coming for Bristol Rovers in August 2015 at the age of 26, revealed that being injured and not being able to follow his usual day to day routine has been mentally tough on him.
“I came into the game a little bit later than most people, I didn’t come into it until I was 26 and I want to play as many games as I can and I want to keep ticking off milestones and targets like league appearances and wins,” he continued.
“You go through different periods when you’re injured.
“In the first week or so that I picked up my injury, it was really tough on me mentally.
“You go through a period where really you aren’t yourself and it can affect everything really that’s in your day to day life.
“Personally, I have worked so hard to get myself into league football and I have pushed my body really hard to get there, when I’m then not being able to play, it becomes hard to stomach.
“In the first week it can take a little bit of time to readjust and be like, I need to get my head down, work hard and just keep pushing and progressing but maybe in a different way.
“You look at working on other parts of your game or you work on strengthening something that you haven’t focused on before and by giving yourself other targets, it does definitely help you and it takes your mind away from the injury.
“Whilst I’ve been injured I’ve tried to focus on helping the other midfielders at the club, the younger ones, by giving them my opinion on the games.
“I think that definitely helps take my mind off things but it’s still very tough being injured and not doing something that you love doing.”