Luke Ayling determined to keep Yeovil Town place after hip injury recovery
Having endured the longest injury lay-off of his professional career, Luke Ayling is in no mood to surrender his place in the team.
The former Arsenal youngster has made the right back berth his own again after a freak hip injury left him sidelined for more than a month.
Ayling, aged 21, has experienced a relatively fortunate three years with the Glovers but after suffering his first selection set-back he is keen not to repeat the experience.
He said: “I have shrugged off my hip injury and hopefully I am back to full fitness. I think I am playing well so hopefully I can keep my place in the team, play more games and kick on.
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“It is horrible being on the sidelines. I have been here three years now and had played pretty much every game. To be sat out for six or seven games was horrible. I trained hard and now I’m back in the team and can hopefully carry on.
“I trained on the Friday and struck a ball down the line and felt my hip a little bit then. It was nothing so I came in for the game on the Saturday, was warming up, went to bend down and pick up the ball and tore the muscle.
“I then had to spend a month in the gym getting stronger and spent a lot of time in the pool. It started off quite painful and I had shooting pains straight down my hip and quad muscle and after that every time I went to kick on or run the pain came back.
“After two weeks of trying to come back I decided to stop for a week and did no strength work and I was fine after that.”
Ayling was a leading light in the Gunners’ youth system but was sent to Huish Park on loan at the end of the 2009-10 season without making a first team appearance at the Premier League giants.
He made his Yeovil debut under then-manager Terry Skiverton in the last game of that campaign at Brighton and Hove Albion before switching permanently in the summer.
Having taken little time to prove his Football League credentials, Ayling committed his future to the Glovers and agreed another two-year deal last summer.
However, he has endured mixed fortunes so far this season and whilst he recovered from his injury, Bristol City loanee Joe Edwards staked his claim further full-back spot.
However, the versatile Ashton Gate starlet’s switch to midfield allowed Ayling his opportunity that he took with both hands.
“It is great when team-mates come in and play well,” said Ayling. “You just have to wait for your chance to get back in the team. I have done that and hopefully I can stay in there.”
With Leyton Orient and Yeovil set to meet again next week, Ayling said the opening clash of 2013 was a fitting precursor for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy area semi final at the Matchroom Stadium.
However, the npower League One drubbing dished out by Russell Slade’s men on the capital will also figure prominently in the minds of Yeovil players.
Ayling said: “I wasn’t involved in that first game but it was a bad game for us so hopefully we can bring them down here and beat them.
“It’s a great thing for the club to play on the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy area semi-final and it will be a re-run of Tuesday. Hopefully we can come out on top of both and get two wins to start the year.”