Published: 05:00, 22 October 2021
Chatham Town striker Andy Pugh has been described as a “manager’s dream” after making a goalscoring return from injury.
Pugh scored the second goal on Tuesday night as the Chats won 2-0 at Crowborough in the league after Dan Bradshaw had opened the scoring.
It’s five in five now for Pugh - back following knee surgery - returning to a winning Chatham side, who now sit just a point off the Southern Counties East Premier Division summit.
“To have Pughy back is a real plus,” said chairman/joint manager Kevin Hake.
“His attitude has been first class, not only in his rehabilitation but also influencing players around him with his professional attitude.
“He’s been unlucky with injuries but he’s persevered when others maybe would have given up and he’s got himself super fit.”
The club have been managing his minutes and he’s not played a full 90 since his return.
Hake added: “Pughy has already got a great rapport with Chats supporters as they can see just how hard he has worked to get back to full fitness.
“He’s a manager’s dream as his professionalism is infectious particularly with the youngsters who really look up to him.
“To have a player of his calibre available to us now gives the team a massive boost when we need it as we face a congested period.”
Chats have five games in 16 days from Saturday when they host Wessex League Premier Division side Alresford Town in the FA Vase first round.
Pugh underwent surgery in the summer and faced six weeks without being able to put any weight on it before he could up his rehab. He’s delighted Hake and fellow manager Carl Laraman are giving him time to recover properly.
He said: “I have only trained once or twice in four or five months and have been able to treat the games as training sessions. I have been given instructions of what I am allowed to do and not.
“In the past I wouldn’t have had that and in myself I would be thinking I had to prove this and that and doing too much.
“Carl Laraman has said don’t be going over a certain percentage, to hear him say it I can feel the relief in myself, not thinking I have to go out and do this and prove a point. It is a case of getting through and moving on.”
He followed up goals against Lordswood and Tunbridge Wells in the league with one against Staplehurst Monarchs during a 7-1 rout and then the opener in Saturday’s 2-0 Kent Senior Trophy win against Croydon.
Chats have been playing catch-up with their league games - keeping them out of the spotlight which Pugh thinks has helped.
He said: “It has suited us, we are in the background, last year and going into the season everyone was talking about Chatham and they should do this and that.
“We have had a new management team and it has given us the benefits of being able to take on new ideas with pressure on but without that spotlight on us by being at the top and there to be shot.
“We have just gone about our business, with what Kev and Lar wants us to do, the atmosphere in the dressing room is good, it is a good place to be.”