Some encouraging words from our loanee Giles Barnes.
There was tangible excitement when we signed Barnes on loan from Derby in January. He was carrying an injury when he came to Fulham but he was one of those rare players – that we’ve had all too few of since Malbranque and Boa Morte departed – who could do something a little bit special and surprise the opposition. The sort of player that Andy Roxburgh might call a ‘codebreaker’.
Sadly, injuries and a lack of match fitness have denied us too much of an opportunity to see Barnes in action. He’s yet to even make the bench for the first team and, despite Roy’s obvious interest in his talent – reports suggest we went as far as agreeing a potential fee for a permanent transfer when negotiating the loan deal – is running out of time to secure a move to the Premier League.
Not surprisingly, Barnes is desperate to make the most of his opportunity. The injury woe certainly sounds soul-destroying.
It’s been a frustrating last 13 months – not just since I’ve been at Fulham. I’ve not played yet, but I’ve worked on my fitness with behind close-doors games and reserve team games as well as taking advice from the conditioning coaches here.
The knee injury kept me out a long time from February last year. My first comeback was against Coventry before I played against Manchester United [in January], and then I came here.
Then I had a heel problem, which was injected, and I had to stop training for a few days. It came from training and a pair of boots. The pair that caused the problems were the ones that scored two goals against Manchester United – and I wanted to continue with them – but now they’re on the mantelpiece.
Then I took a knock on my knee, which didn’t set me back, but I needed to train with strapping, and I didn’t want anyone to see me playing like that. I’d rather get the knocks now early in my career than later.
It’s been a big frustration not to play. Just when you build yourself up for two week or something, there’s another setback. I’ve been here six weeks and there’s eight games left so there’s still time. I’ve worked up to playing 90 minutes. I’ve really enjoyed my time at Fulham though – it’s been really positive from the gaffer and the players.