MIKE Williamson is relieved the freak accident which broke his hand has not brought an embarrassing end to his first season at Newcastle United.
Williamson has been kicking himself ever since he fell over while exercising at home and revealed the phone call to manager Chris Hughton to explain how he had done it was more painful than the injury.
But, with the bone healing quickly, Williamson – who laughed off rumours he broke his hand while surfing in Tynemouth – is set to return to the starting line-up against Nottingham Forest on Monday night.
Given Newcastle’s injury problems in defence the timing of the return could not be better for a game in which a win will virtually guarantee United’s promotion back to the Premier League.
“It’s giving me no grief at all now so I’m delighted,” said Williamson, who has missed the last four games. “I’m OK for Monday, fit for selection. I don’t know where the surfing rumour came from at all, I have never done that in my life.
“It was one of those freak accidents. I was doing some stretches at home, fell over and put my weight on it and I didn’t even realise I had done it until later that evening. I went to get checked out to be safe and I couldn’t believe it.
“It could not have been worse timing. I had just put in a few good performances, I had the shirt and I was just looking forward to the rest of the season.
“It was bad timing for me. But at least I have a chance again now because Fitz (Hall) has pulled his hamstring.
“I’ll have a cast on and that stops me from doing anything that might hurt the bone. When you look back it is frustrating. But I do stretches at home, a bit of core fitness, general things, all of the time.
“The manager was saying what were you doing? But it really was just a freak accident, one of those that will never happen again.”
Given the size of Monday night’s game, Williamson has extra reason to relish the timing of his recovery. Forest are already ten points behind United, having played a game more than their rivals, and a win would mean the gap was 13 points with just 18 points left for Forest to play for.
Even then, though, Williamson insisted the fear of throwing things away in the final straight would ensure nobody took anything for granted.
Having failed to make a single appearance for Portsmouth in the Premier League after a £2m move from Watford last summer, Williamson would love to get that chance with Newcastle. But as
long as it remains a dream, rather than a reality, he remains guarded in what he says.
He added: “It would be a great game to play in as well because Nottingham Forest are still in the chase and it is massive for us.
“It is just three points and that’s how we have to look at it, but to them it’s a bit more. Hopefully we can take them.
“We have to just treat it one match at a time. Once we are mathematically promoted there will be a sense of relief, but then we will have to look at winning the league.
“There is no talk about Monday being the moment we can stop pushing on if we win, that the job will be done.
“If we were to win, it would be a big push for us, a massive result, but we have to concentrate on one game at a time.”