"I've not been this happy in a long time" - Town loanee Wright relishing the chance to put his injury nightmare behind him

Max Wright. Photo: Marcus BranstonMax Wright. Photo: Marcus Branston
Max Wright. Photo: Marcus Branston
Max Wright is hoping his injury nightmare is behind him after rediscovering some form and fitness at Halifax.

The winger's move to Harrogate last summer was marred by a serious ankle injury that scuppered his chances of establishing himself in the first-team.

But Wright says his move to The Shay has helped him to restore some confidence and enjoyment in his game.

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"When you're watching football and you can't play it, it's so demoralising, it makes you fed up, watching people winning games, you're like 'I want that to be me' and you can't do anything about it," he told the Courier.

"But I've not been this happy in a long time, I've found a great club and I'm really enjoying it, I'm playing every week.

"This is the most settled and comfortable I've probably felt in a couple of years now, part of that's because of the club and part of that's because I'm doing what every footballer wants to do, and that's playing week in, week out and playing well."

Wright graduated from boyhood club Grimsby Town's youth set-up and spent six years there as a pro, before being released last summer.

"It was exactly what I needed," he said.

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"Some things didn't quite work there, but as much as it was my boyhood club and I'm from there and it was nice to have a local journey every day, I needed to experience something new, learn a bit and see what's out there.

"Grimsby, you don't get much visibility with where it's located, where clubs in Yorkshire, a lot more people are going to come and watch.

"If you do get released in the future that might stand you in good stead because people have seen you play."

But shortly after his move to Harrogate, Wright snapped the caps off his peroneal tendon when they outside of his left ankle got stood on in a pre-season game against Barnsley.

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"It hurt a bit but I carried on for ten more minutes, but I could see the tendon was moving from side to side," he said.

"I had a scan and they said I'd snapped the caps that keep it in place, so I needed surgery."

That was the start of a five month absence from action for the 24-year-old.

"When you join a new club you want to get going straight away and impress," he said.

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"When you're not playing, you don't get to start that bond with the fans and your team-mates too early, so it's been a painful, painstaking time to fix my injury and get fit again.

"I had to learn how to walk again because I was in a cast for a long time.

"I had my surgery, I was in a cast for two weeks.

"When your cast's off, they put you in a boot, which you can walk in but, man, it's painful, it's painful.

"I was in a boot for four weeks, walking in pain.

"I walked, jogged, ran, did a bit of training and I was nearly ready to go, but in that three or four months I had a little bit of an infection where I had the surgery, so it was a bit sore.

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"I was going back and forth to the doctor every week for him to check on it.

"He was a bit worried about it, we tried one last thing, which was silver nitrate, which is supposed to kill the infection. Didn't work, had another x-ray on the same area I had surgery on, and it was basically the inside had a lot of infection in it and there were still a few stitches in there.

"So he said he'd need to do surgery again, so I had it again, was again in the cast for two weeks and then the boot again for a couple of days.

"So that's why it took a month longer than it should have.

"It was really difficult, but I'm playing now so we're on the up."

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Wright may be feeling more positive now, but he admits it was tough dealing with his prolonged spell on the sidelines.

"Mentality in football is the toughest thing, I've found," he said.

"It's incredibly difficult (dealing with injury) and it's hard to really let people know how difficult it is.

"They assume, because you're a footballer, it's an easy life, you go and do exercise every day, whatever, but I was working so hard every day to try and get towards playing again, getting fit and becoming a better footballer.

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"Imagine you had a project restoring a classic car and you just can't get it right, it just slowly crushes you and really annoys you.

"Luckily enough, we're tough enough to keep going, but it's so difficult, to want something so bad and not manage to get it.

"But it's all about being persistent, taking the advice and doing everything you can do."

When asked if he feels like the same player as before the injury, Wright said: "No, the reason being fitness.

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"I had a full six weeks with Harrogate of running and training in the heat and getting fit.

"I've had five-and-a-bit months of not doing any of that, especially when everyone around you has had half-a-season to get fit, get sharp and get momentum.

"I don't believe I've lost any ability or anything like that, it's purely fitness, but the more games I play, I'm feeling like I'm a lot fitter and it's becoming easier and easier to get through the 90 minutes."

On his move to Halifax, Wright said: "I had a couple of minutes for Harrogate but I wasn't really getting many more and the manager explained that was down to fitness.

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"And the solution was to go and play for somebody and get fit.

"My agent got in contact with the gaffer and we sorted it out, and so far it's been brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

"The staff are great, everybody's been great with me since I've been there.

"I've had a really good start, I think I knew five lads before I came so it's always nice to see familiar faces.

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"I played at The Shay with Grimsby last year, it's a great stadium with a great fan base.

"I wasn't watching what Halifax were doing at the start of the season but speaking to some of the lads, they feel really confident that we look a better team.

"I feel like maybe we've got an identity now."

Wright is still hoping to work his way into the first-team at Harrogate, but if not, wouldn't rule out an extended stay with Halifax.

"I've sorted the muscle problem I had when I was at Grimsby, that's completely sorted now," said Wright, who is out of contract in the summer.

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"The ankle thing at the start of the season was very, very unfortunate, but I'm injury free now and feeling good.

"This season depends on what happens at my parent club, if Harrogate want to give me some game time and see what I can do, then great, it's a step-higher so every player should want to do that.

"If not, and they think I should stay, I would definitely be happy to extend my stay until the end of the season.

"This is the first time I've had a good run of games in a long time.

"Footballers are always out of contract so you can't really worry, I'll take the challenge on and wherever I am next season, you never know, but we'll see."