Stewart powers back to the heart of Wanderers’ defence
Keeper Ingram glad the ‘accomplished’ centre-back has returned earlier than first feared
WYCOMBE Wanderers keeper Matt Ingram is delighted to have Anthony Stewart back in front of him.
Centre-back Stewart made his comeback from three months on the sidelines in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at AFC Wimbledon, then helped keep a clean sheet in Tuesday night’s 1-0 win at Yeovil, in which Luke O’Nien bagged the winner.
When Stewart was crocked in just Wycombe’s second game of the season, he was expected to be out until Christmas, but the club’s medical staff worked miracles to get him back more than a month early.
Ingram said: “We look solid at the back at the moment. Credit to Anthony Stewart for coming back after a long injury, and it’s now like he’s never been away.
“He’s a great player, really powerful. He heads the ball and clears the danger by getting in good positions. He’s not the biggest, but he makes up for that with his power and has a good spring. I think he’s a very accomplished defender at League Two level.
“There are a lot of versatile players in the squad. People like Sido Jombati. I think he’s played centre-back and all across the defence this season, so it just shows we’ve got people who can fill in. We’ve got a lot of quality and just need to steer clear of any more injuries.”
Despite a list of appearances that totals more than 130 professional outings, Ingram is showing no signs of losing the same buzz he got from his debut against Accrington almost three years ago.
There is one simple reason for why the 21-year-old keeps coming back for more and is looking forward to every minute of a contract which keeps him in Buckinghamshire until at least 2017.
He added: “I’m enjoying playing. I don’t really feel like a veteran as such, but the more games I rack up helps.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say it becomes easier, but I can read certain situations more easily and you get more experienced. This is my passion – I love playing football.
“How can something you love doing so much ever become boring? There’s always different conditions and circumstances everywhere you go so nothing is ever the same - you have to respond to those in the right way.
“I’m still only 21 and I’ve got a lot to learn in the game. We work on the full spectrum at Wycombe – learning to command my area better and kicking. I’m not the finished article in any area of my game.
“I work in training with Baz [Barry Richardson] and he’s brilliant with me.
“The gaffer is brilliant too, and you only have to look to the touchline to see his passion. It’s as if he’s still playing the game, and he’s a great influence on everyone in the dressing room.
“We all want to run our hearts out for him because we all know he’d be doing the same for us if he was still out there with us.”
Return: Anthony Stewart of Wycombe Wanderers takes on Yeovil’s Harry Cornick