Ste­wart pow­ers back to the heart of Wan­der­ers’ de­fence

Keeper In­gram glad the ‘ac­com­plished’ cen­tre-back has re­turned ear­lier than first feared

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - by Matt Lewis matt.lewis@trin­i­tymir­

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

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