Ahead of a busy 4 games in 8 days period (starting with tonight's game at home to Ballymena) Linfieldfc.com spoke to Emma McAleese who is recovering after sustaining a broken foot in a recent league game.
"The injury was a bit of a nightmare, obviously. I'd approached this season really positively, thinking I was going to have a great season and I was playing quite well, having just recovered from another quite serious injury.
I'm overall quite positive about things and I suppose the positive thing about this injury is that it's a good clean and fairly uncomplicated break. That might sound odd to many people but I can take the positives from that.
I'm very, very fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing bunch of team mates. They're an excellent bunch of girls and they're really like an extended family to me, as they are all looking after me really well.
The togetherness among the squad is tremendous. The girls are great on the pitch but the way they've rallied round me shows how great they are off the pitch as well. This has shown the other side of the team. It's great to be all playing football together but when something like this happens to a player, it's great that there are team mates who worry about you, look after you and lift and lay you. That shows the great team spirit and camaraderie there is amongst our squad. It's a fantastic and important part of what makes us such a good squad.
On the night of the injury I naturally felt gutted but looking back, the most important thing was that we won the game. I may have got injured but I take great comfort from the fact that my team won and that's ultimately, what we set out to do on the night. I knew I was in good hands so I didn't panic, as we're really lucky to have a great physio in Gemma Toner who took great care of me and kept me calm. When I got to the hospital that night, I was there for ten hours and the nicest thing was that half the team organised a rota to stay with me through the night, as they really did show their concern for me.
My foot was in plaster and it's now in an air cast. I feel I'm definitely making progress and the people at the hospital are happy with the progress and they say it's healing really well. Hopefully, the cast will be off in 5 weeks time and I'll be able to undergo physio and rehab and I'm hoping I might be able to make it back for our last few games of the season. That's my target to try and get back playing again before the end of the season.
What I want to see now is my team mates working hard to maintain a challenge in the league and the 3 cup competitions that we're participating in. We won 2 trophies last year. We got a taste for success and we liked it so we're hungry for more success this season.
It's great for me to be here at training today. I may be on crutches but I still have a role to play. I'm vice- captain of the squad so it's important that I'm here encouraging others and making sure everything is running smoothly. I think I have a lot to contribute besides just playing football. The girls all know that if there's anything I can do to help them or advise them, I'm there for them. Whether playing or not playing, my role is to encourage my team mates and so that part of my role is not affected by me being injured at the minute.
I enjoy the responsibility of being vice-captain and I probably need it now, as with me not able to play football at present, I still feel I have an important contribution to make and that helps keep me positive and involved. I just love playing football and being involved with everybody at the club.
It was lovely that the girls all clubbed together and made a lovely presentation to me after our game down in Cookstown last week. It was a lovely surprise and much appreciated and I just want to thank everybody for their kindness. It was so thoughtful but yet so typical of the squad. We all play football for the love of the game, not for any monetary rewards but it was a lovely gesture from the girls and it really meant a lot to me.
It's also really lovely that the club has presented me with this match worn Linfield 1st team shirt here today. It's just brilliant and really special and I'm just so grateful for all the support I've received from so many people at the club. I've received so many goodwill messages and I just want to thank everyone for all their kindness and encouragement.
I'm due back in hospital in 2 weeks time. They've had to do check ups and X rays, once they got the initial swelling down. I've been greatly reassured by what they've done and told me about how things have progressed. The support from the hospital and team mates has made the situation much more bearable.
It's been really gutting to miss these games, as I was in good form and had scored in pre-season games and had scored in our opening league game down in Dromore so I felt I was coming back to full strength.
Our team faces a tough league game at home to Ballymena tonight and I'm looking forward to getting along to what will hopefully be a good performance and result. It's an important period with a lot of league and cup games in quick succession and though I can't play my part on the pitch, the girls all know that I'll be doing what I can to help off the pitch."
Below - manager Ryan McConville makes a presentation on behalf of Linfield FC to Emma McAlesse with team mate Danielle Ennis also in the photograph.
Pictured below after making a presentation to Emma (right) after last Wednesday's game in Cookstown is Linfield captain Sarah Venney (left)
Best wishes to Emma as she continues her recovery from this unfortunate injury setback and hopefully she will be back in the squad as soon as possible.