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Williams continues road to recovery

Joe Williams completed 67 minutes of the Under-23s’ 2-1 win over Watford this week as planned on his road to full fitness.

The midfielder, one of the club’s summer signings ahead of the 2020/21 season, has yet to feature for the first team due to thigh and hamstring injuries.

It has been a long journey to recovery but he’s in a good place and spoke about his progress.

“My body is all good and I was glad to get the hour in,” he said. “It was planned to get that amount of time and I’ve come through it unscathed. Again, I feel good so I’m ready to see what’s next.

“Whatever level it is, be that in the park, an Under-23s game or with the first team I’ve just been looking forward to it because it had been so long. No matter what level I was looking forward to it, so it’s been good to get back out there.”

Williams said it was about determination and drive, knowing that one day he will be back on the pitch as normal which helped him get through the tough times away from pitch.

He said: “As a footballer you’ve got a 10 or 15-year career so you’ll have ups and downs, setbacks and if you think it’s going to go well all the time then you’re probably in the wrong game.

“I’ve always been lucky to get 30-40 games a season so I knew if I carried on working hard that it wouldn’t be a problem and I’ll be back playing those amounts of games in the future. I’m now happy to be back and hopefully this has been my little few months out which everyone has to endure.

“You can’t get away from it, you can’t sulk or cry, you just have to stay determined and come back from it.”

“I felt good after the Under-23s game, I feel I can now complete games. Obviously, I won’t be at my complete sharpest but I feel I can complete games now and that will come.”

Tuesday’s appearance for the young Robins was his second outing, with goals from Harry Leeson and Zak Smith helping to jeep the development squad top of the Professional Development League South.

Head Coach Dean Holden was in the stands at the Optima Stadium and Williams was also impressed by what he’s seen and believes the future to be in good hands.

He said: “We have some really good players, lots of young talent and they were impressive in front of the manager who was watching on as well, which will be brilliant for them. It will put them in good stead for the future and he knows where they are at.”

Smith’s penalty – awarded five minutes after Williams was substituted off – proved enough to win the game and Williams joked how annoyed he was at not being able to have the chance to score, such is his competitive nature, whatever the level.

He said: “I don’t score many so it would have been a good opportunity from the penalty spot! Literally it was five minutes after I came off, so I was gutted. I wouldn’t have minded a goal. It doesn’t matter the level as I always want to score.”

Williams continues his training on the grass as he awaits the green light to be named in a first team game in the future.

Holden’s men are in action tonight (Wednesday, February 3rd, 7.45pm) when they take on Brentford in West London.

Brentford versus City will be available to listen to through Robins TV with an audio-only pass. The match can’t be live streamed due to broadcast regulations, which prevent the ability to live stream an away fixture which was originally scheduled for a Saturday kick-off.

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