Rory Loy on his return to action
Striker Rory Loy came off the bench at Gresty Road on Tuesday to make his first appearance for the club in just over twelve months following the horrible leg injury sustained during the 2011 Boxing Day clash at Deepdale.
Just under 500 United fans were sat opposite the dug-outs to welcome him back for what were possibly the most important twenty minutes of his career.
“The fans have been top notch since this happened so it was nice to see them stand up and clap when I ran onto the pitch,” he said. “They’ve encouraged me every step of the way and I just want to repay some of that now that I’m getting back on the pitch.”
"It’s fantastic to be involved again because it’s been a long, long time coming,” he admitted. “I’ve had to wait for over a year and it was great to get as far as being on the bench for the last two games. I wasn’t expecting too much from it, but the longer you’re included as a sub then the more chance you have of coming on.”
“This was my third game in a row of being on there and it was great when the manager gave me the nod,” he told us. “It’s just a shame we didn’t nick anything because I thought we deserved at least a point. I wasn’t given any indication before the Crewe game that I would be getting pitch time. The manager picks his team to win the game and all you can do then is wait and see.”
His inclusion as a substitute for the Hartlepool fixture on Boxing Day brought what many thought could be an emotional return to the fold exactly one calendar year after the incident which consigned him to the treatment room.
“When we were three up against Hartlepool I did wonder if the manager was going to put me on,” he said. “In the end he decided not to, and I can fully understand that. We wanted the clean sheet and the team is far more important than I am.
“The circumstances for the Bury game were different and I didn’t expect to get on in that one at all. Again, it was about the result and I thought it was a magnificent effort from the lads. When it came to the Crewe game, I think things were so tight that he wanted to try and change things up a little bit. He put me on to help with the attacking side of life and I’m really glad he did. Like I say, it’s just a shame that we didn’t get what we deserved.”
And just for one fleeting moment it appeared that the popular front man was about to mark his return with a net-busting thunderbolt.
“I had a chance that went over the bar and it might be that I actually struck it too well,” he admitted. “As soon as Lee [Miller] headed it on I knew that the holding midfielder had no idea I was behind him.
“I nipped in and chested it down, and when I think about it now I could probably even have taken a touch. At the time I thought the best thing to do was to go for it first time. It’s one of those where if you slice it a little bit then it can fly into the net. Unfortunately I caught it flush and it went over.”
With a string of reserve appearances under his belt in the lead up to December last year it comes as little surprise that he has been chomping at the bit.
“A competitive match is very different to a reserve game for obvious reasons,” he explained. “Having said that, the Barnsley game we played [November] was really good. The tempo was high and we all enjoyed it, but it was a month ago for me now.
“The problem is that it’s nearly impossible to get reserve games played at the moment because of the weather and the number of fixtures everyone has. So, coming back at this time of year isn’t the best in terms of timing. The manager knows that and he’s given me pitch time against Crewe instead. Hopefully he was pleased with what I did.”
“I think it’s put some of the demons to bed for everybody,” he said. “I think there was a bit of doubt in all of our minds because people are bound to question if I’m going to be the same as I was before the injury.
“For me, once the whistle goes out on the pitch all of those types of thoughts go away. I don’t think about things at all. I just do what comes naturally because there isn’t time to worry about anything other than your job.
“If the ball gets pinged in at 100 miles an hour then all that’s on your mind is that you want to control it. With what I did at Crewe I’m hoping that I’ve put a lot of worries to rest for everyone.
“At the end of the day I go out there to do the best I can. I’ve had my 20 minutes in that game and maybe I need to do that a couple more times before the manager really starts to wonder whether he needs to be starting me or not.
“I’d love to start a game as soon as possible ... but ultimately that comes down to the gaffer. I’ll just work hard and try to show everyone that I’m ready.”
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