Two weeks away from come­back

Ex-QPR player just needs match fit­ness

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT - By Tim Street tim.street@trin­i­tymir­

HO­GAN Ephraim is des­per­ate for Wy­combe Wan­der­ers to see the best of him – but has warned it may take him a few more weeks to get match fit.

The for­mer QPR and West Ham man picked up a back in­jury in only his third game for the club, against Bur­ton Al­bion in Novem­ber, and when it went again in his fol­low­ing game, against AFC Wim­ble­don, he spent al­most two months on the side­lines.

But the 26-year-old for­mer Eng­land youth in­ter­na­tional man­aged his first full 90 min­utes since join­ing the club in last week’s 2-0 de­feat to Ply­mouth and, de­spite be­ing an un­used sub in Satur­day’s 2-1 home de­feat to New­port, he is ready to put a frus­trat­ing spell be­hind him.

He said: “The in­jury was a weird one. I had a bulging disc af­fect­ing the nerve in my back, and even when I walked it would trig­ger.

“I knew it had hap­pened straight away, but I didn’t know just how bad it was. I was in real pain, but the adren­a­line car­ried me through and I car­ried on play­ing.

“I’d been for­tu­nate enough to have never re­ally had an in­jury and it was frus­trat­ing. But I’ve been spend­ing ev­ery day in the gym and I’m feel­ing a lot stronger.

“I’m feel­ing good, but match fit­ness is a whole other ball game. Hope­fully it will take just a cou­ple more weeks, be­cause I want to show ev­ery­one what I can do.” Wy­combe Wan­der­ers’ Ho­gan Ephraim wants to show Chair­boys fans what he can do Photo by Grant Humphreys

Hav­ing been re­leased by QPR in July, af­ter six years at Loftus Road, Ephraim found him­self with­out a club for the first time and went al­most four months be­fore Wy­combe came in.

He said: “It was the first time I’ve been with­out a club, but I was al­ways con­fi­dent I would get some­thing. You see some play­ers drop out of the game, but that was never an op­tion. I didn’t en­joy it last year and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I had a few months out and had a few of­fers, but the move here seemed per­fect and it all came to­gether nicely.”

Ephraim was a for­mer QPR team­mate of the man who brought him back into the game, Wy­combe manager Gareth Ainsworth, and had al­ready played un­der him when when Ainsworth had two spells as care­taker manager at Loftus Road.

Ephraim added: “Gaz was a bit of a wild one but you knew what you were get­ting. He al­ways takes you at face value, which is his char­ac­ter as a manager, and that’s a mas­sive help be­cause that’s what I need. It was dif­fer­ent for him then as he had to stop be­ing one of the boys, but he never dis­tanced him­self.”

Wy­combe will look to get back on track on Satur­day when they make the long jour­ney to Carlisle.


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