Watson's feeling good and is nearing his best form again
Even accounting for Harry Smith’s late equaliser, arguably the biggest positive to come out of Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Mansfield Town was the display of Ryan Watson.
Watson, starting just his second league game since August, brought a touch of guile and subtlety to a game that was otherwise lacking it.
It was a throwback to his early-season form and, perhaps most encouragingly of all, he also looked close to his fully-fit self, embarking on a couple of typical surging runs in the closing stages as his side chased a winning goal.
If Watson can stay fit and build on this performance, he’ll be a huge asset going into the second half of the season.
“I’m just delighted to be back playing,” said the 26-year-old, who missed three months with a broken collarbone. “I’ve had a bit of a frustrating time over the last few months but I’m happy to be back and hopefully the performances will start to get better and better.
“The shoulder now feels strong and good and I think I just need a few more games now to get myself fitter.
“I do feel fit but maybe I’m not quite fully fit yet and I’m a little bit off it at the moment.”
It’s a reflection of how highly manager Keith Curle rates Watson that, despite strong competition in midfield, he has come straight back into the team since returning, playing a part in each of Town’s last six games.
“I’m only going to improve with games so the more I play, the better I’ll feel,” he added.
“And it’s a great feeling to have when you’re made to feel wanted. Now I’ve just got to repay the manager by putting in good performances.”
Watson and his team-mates have been given Christmas Day off by Curle before they make the trip down to Crawley Town on Boxing Day.
“We’re just ticking over now until the next game,” added the midfielder. “A lot of the lads live away from home so it’ll be nice for them to go back and see their families.
“It’s important to do that and we’ll enjoy a nice break but it’ll be back to business on Boxing Day.”