South Holland’s deadliest striker Andrew Tidswell has been give a new lease of life after undergoing season-saving treatment on a nagging injury.
The Spalding United talisman has netted an incredible 38 goals this season, but has yet to kick a ball for the UCL Premier Division leaders in 2014.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Tidswell has revealed that he’s been playing with a dislodged pelvis since he was aged 16.
Now 23, a specialist told the striker that he has probably been playing at around 70 per cent of his potential since then – which is a harrowing prospect for UCL defences. After four injections – two in his ankle, one in the groin and another in the problematic pelvis – Tidswell now hopes to play pain-free at Kempston Rovers on Saturday (3pm).
“I tried to control the injury with painkillers and other methods,” admitted the league’s leading scorer. “However, it came to a head over Christmas.
“Although I scored four in the two games, it became apparent to everyone I couldn’t run, twist or play the ball further than 20 yards. So, I then had to listen to my body.
“Having seen the specialist, my pelvis is now back in alignment and I’m possibly up to 30 per cent more physically able than I have been for many years.”
With his injury problems hopefully behind him, Tidswell now turns his attention to matters on the field.
Tulips chief Pat Rayment famously backed him to score 50 goals this season after landing the popular hitman from Holbeach, a notion scoffed at by many outside of the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.
If selected, Tidswell has to go at a goal-a-game in Spalding’s final 12 games of the season to achieve that target – and he isn’t ruling himself out.
“I should already have 50!” joked the goal machine. “But 38 is OK before the New Year.
“Looking at the fixtures, we have 12 games left – and if fit and selected, I back myself to still reach that target as this team can create chances at will. It will mainly depend on how many games I can play.”
Having played a key role in Holbeach United’s league and Lincs Cup double last year, Tidswell is closing on the rare feat of back-to-back UCL titles.
He thinks the rivalry between the Tigers and Tulips is great for South Holland football, but wouldn’t be drawn on which of the two teams he has played in were the better.
Tidswell added: “At Holbeach we were seen as underdogs and quietly went about taking points. At Spalding we are expected to win – we have always been the favourites and with that comes pressure.
“I still have many friends at Holbeach, there are some very good people there and I will always look back fondly.
“It’s the same at Spalding –people behind the scenes do so much work without being seen. So immense credit should go to those people for giving South Holland two very good football teams.”