Chatham Town FC are heading for their biggest match in 80 years but one player will only be able to cheer from the sidelines after suffering a horrific injury.
Defender Corey Holder had to have his spleen removed following an injury as Chats played Romford last Wednesday.
It is thought his own elbow went into his side as he fell to the ground after heading the ball. He went to Darent Valley Hospital where it was discovered his spleen had ruptured.
The 22-year-old underwent major surgery and will be on medication for the rest of his life. But he said it could have been a lot worse.
“I was taken to A&E where they did an X-ray and they couldn’t find any broken ribs, but I was in excruciating pain.
“The doctors said they would do an MRI scan just in case and it was then they discovered I had ruptured my spleen. By this time I had two litres of blood in my stomach.
“I will have to take antibiotics every day and have regular vaccinations but it is a small inconvenience compared to what could have happened if I had been sent home without having the MRI scan.”
Corey has been inundated with get well messages and his team mates have been to visit him in hospital.
They even had a whip round for him after Saturday’s game.
Chatham Town player Corey Holder, in red, has had his spleen removed
He said: “The support has been fantastic. The players have come to see me and so has my manager. I’ve had loads of messages on Twitter.”
Corey cannot play for three months so will miss tomorrow’s big clash against St Albans in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup – the furthest the club has got in the competition for 81 years.
Chats player Corey Holder shows off his bandage
But he will be cheering them on from the sidelines after being discharged from hospital on Wednesday.
He said: “I’m massively gutted that I will be missing it.
"It is the furthest I have ever got personally and the furthest the club has got.
“But I guess it gives the players more motivation to go out there and do the job.”
Chatham FC manager Kevin Watson said: “We’re hoping to have Corey with us on the sidelines for the FA Cup game at the weekend – that will be a great morale boost for us.”