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The Shouting Men column: Wolves loan man Jordan Graham says long-term injury has given him a different outlook

I don’t take any training session for granted, ever, no matter what the situation is. I just want to play because when I couldn’t play for 14 months or whatever it was, because of injury, it was hard, real hard.

I think that is why I feel how I feel now. I said to myself that when I am back I am never going to take a training session for granted, never moan about training in the rain or say it is a rubbish session.

Loan winger Jordan Graham is enjoying his football again Picture: Ady Kerry
Loan winger Jordan Graham is enjoying his football again Picture: Ady Kerry

You have to get your head around being out for a long time, but it went quick for me, I accepted what it was. I think it has made me mentally stronger and physically stronger and now I feel I am in a real good physical condition which is why I just want to play non-stop.

Mark Byrne is in a similar situation and he has asked me a lot of questions already. I had a bad one, it was my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and my LCL (lateral collateral ligament), which is what he kind of did. Doing the lateral one is quite rare and my surgeon told me he hadn’t had a footballer do it for years.

Mark is like how I was, he has got his head around it and he is well on the way. He is a hard worker, he is running on the anti-gravity machine and I know how he feels. I hate running but I was so happy to be running again. To get back on the treadmill was the best thing ever.

I went six weeks without walking and I remember when John Akinde recently had a cold, he couldn’t breathe out of his nose. It is amazing how you take these things for granted. When I was playing, I was playing game after game and it was normal and then when it got taken away I was like, wow, this is crazy.

I will never make that mistake again now, I love training and I always do extra, I am here early – normally! The injury was not great for me but in the long term for my career and for my life, for what it has taught me, it is good.

I don’t ever look too far ahead because anything can change at any given moment.

When I left Wolves at the end of January I came here and my mind was on being here. I am not thinking about Wolves.

Come May 3, I will reassess and see where I am. I am up at the end of the season, I have had a couple of conversations, but I stay out of it, I leave it to the people that need to do that, for me it is just playing and training and doing what I am good at. I just concentrate on what I need to do on a Saturday.

Every match now is the biggest game of the season if we want to get to where we want to. The pressure is always on but it is part and parcel.

You never say never in this game and I have seen some things before where you think it is impossible.

I had a loan spell previously at Fulham and remember what a crazy run they went on, going on to win promotion to the Premier League in the play-offs.

Things can be achieved that you didn’t think was possible.

It is about keeping our heads and doing what we have been to bring us success and see where we are. I don’t think the belief here is dead, there is still time. If we can win on Saturday, it really sets us up.

I wouldn’t want to come to Gillingham and play if I was at Fleetwood right now.

I don’t think anyone wants to play Gillingham.

We don’t play Manchester City-style football but we work hard, we are physical, we overrun teams and it is not nice.

It wouldn’t be a fixture I would look forward to and we have to pounce on that.

We know the way teams like Oxford play, we know what you get against Coventry, but they will know against Gillingham it will be tough, it will be physical.

What we do, we do well, we get in team’s faces and we press high and we make it hard and ensure it is not an enjoyable fixture for the opposition. That is what we have to do on Saturday.

I have been here since the end of January and it has gone really quick.

It took a couple of weeks to get up to speed, to where the lads were at, but I feel in great physical condition now and I just want to keep playing as much as I can.

I always feel you perform to your best when you are happy and I have that love back.

I was on loan at Oxford last season and played a lot of games, that was good, but I had a couple of niggles pre-season and a deal fell through on deadline day in August.

I was going to Bristol Rovers but it was all left too late, really. It was a bit messy but that is football, it happens sometimes and I ended up not leaving Wolves. I was there for three or four months wasting time, really.

I just had to keep myself in good condition so when the move did come I could hit the ground running, which is what I feel like I have done.

I love football and I just want to play. I want to play every minute of every game and when I get taken off I am fuming, but that is how football is, some games you don’t play, some games you don’t suit them, sometimes the formation changes.

The gaffer knows what he is doing a lot more than I do. He knows I want to play and he knows I work hard.

Saturday was tough for me and Jordan Roberts because we didn’t have much of the ball at all as a team. We had to be really defensive but I think what I did, personally, showed the gaffer a side of the game that I am not sure he thought I could do. I am not sure I knew I could tackle!

There was one challenge I made on the byline where I kept the ball in and I am still not sure how I did it, I must have got lucky!

He was a little worried about that side of my game. He didn’t have any problems when I got the ball in the final third but he just said ‘can you do the defensive side of the game?’.

Looking back it was probably a better performance from me personally than if I’d had loads of the ball, ripped the full-back and got crosses in, because he knows I can do that. So for him to see a different side of me was good.

I was over the moon to see Mika Mandron score his two goals.

Since I have been here he hasn’t played much but Mika is a good kid, he works hard, he trains hard, he practises and does extra and I am the same, I am always trying to do extra.

More on the Gills;

New additions unlikely for Gills

Skipper playing through the pain

Business as usual at Priestfield

Regan Charles-Cook stars for Gills XI


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