Lichfield City defender speaks out about ‘write off’ of a season as JW Hunt Cup final looms large

Lichfield City defender Leighton McMenemy opens up about 'write off' of a season ahead of JW Hunt Cup final

Lichfield City defender Leighton McMenemy watches on as City fight for a loose ball - Credit Shaun Webbley
Leighton McMenemy watches on following yet another injury for City. Credit - Shaun Webbley

Lichfield City defender Leighton McMenemy believes that his side’s appearance in the JW Hunt Cup final at Molineux could be a big learning curve for the group as they hope to round off a disappointing season with a trophy.

Having finished 11th in the season just gone, McMenemy, who has suffered a myriad of injuries since the start of the season, is determined to put things right ahead of a big few months at the Trade Tyre Community Stadium.

“This year for me personally, hasn’t been great,” the 21-year-old centre-back admitted, following an intense training session ahead of the big day out at Molineux.

“Injuries have killed my season, I’ve torn both of my hamstrings and broken my arm, so I’ve missed about eight months of this season through injury.

“I think I came back a bit too soon from injury and pulled up again with the same hamstring issue so I’m really hoping that next season, I can just have an injury-free season, but this season, for me personally, has been a total write-off.”

The 21-year-old defender, who has been blighted by injury troubles, believes that the injuries that he has sustained have not necessarily been down to the heavy fixture schedule, which has seen City play 58 games in a hectic 9 months.

“I can’t put my finger on it (why the injuries have been so frequent). I do believe it is down to how I turn and move around the pitch.

“Because I’m so explosive, I’m usually putting my legs at increased risk, just because of the angles that I put my legs at during a certain sudden movement. For my hamstring, as an example, I accelerated really quickly and it just popped and I think, at the end of the day, injuries like that are just a part of football.”

It was an emotional return for McMenemy who made his full comeback from injury as City picked up a resounding 3-0 win against OJM Black Country and set up a cup final against Midlands rivals Tividale at the end of the month.

“To be honest with you, it felt like a massive weight had been lifted,” an emotional McMenemy admitted. “To be able to be back out on the pitch with the lads, who have supported me so much, was a special feeling and is a feeling you can only relate to if you’ve played football.

Lichfield City defender Leighton McMenemy closing down an opponent
Leighton McMenemy, pictured above, closing down his opposing striker, who is bearing down on goal. Credit – Nigel Cliff

“Also, just to be able to come through the game, on a difficult pitch, unscathed was also huge for me and for my confidence and to be able to play on a turf as impressive as Molineux, it’ll be a special moment in my career.”