John Dunn: Edinburgh City can iron out small mistakes in time for play-offs
Midfielder John Dunn is the forgotten man of an Edinburgh City side that are stumbling across the finish line.
With just one win in their past six, and an injury list stretching into double figures, the Citizens have a couple of Ladbrokes League Two matches outstanding before the promotional play-offs takes centre stage.
In wake of last weekend’s defeat by Albion Rovers, manager James McDonaugh revealed that injuries are crippling his team’s push for League One.
And although those currently nursing injuries have played some part in what has been an otherwise excellent season, Dunn has the unwanted statistic of having managed a measly 12 minutes of action – his last and only appearance in Scottish football’s fourth tier coming in a 4-0 win over Albion at the beginning of August.
A severe case of tendonitis in the 32-year-old’s right knee has robbed him of more than eight months of football despite going under the knife just before the end of last year.
Dunn, however, remains an ever present on match days and said ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Elgin City: “It’s been a nightmare season for me personally. I had pain in my knee towards the end of last season but I played through it. But it continued into the start of this year and got to the point where I was struggling to walk up and down stairs. It then flared up to the point where I couldn’t even bend my knee. I’ve tried a few rehab programmes and then had an operation around Christmas time but none of it has really worked.
“I still go to every training session and as many games as I can so it’s been incredibly hard watching from the sidelines knowing that I can have no influence on the game whatsoever. It’s been particularly hard these past few months that we’ve been struggling with the other injuries to the squad. I’d give anything to get back on the pitch.
“It does appear to be slowly improving now so there may be an end in sight but I’ll definitely not play again this season. If you look at the bigger picture, Rafa Nadal has had to take considerable time off the tennis court because of the condition and Owen Hargreaves had to retire from football because of the persistent problems he was having so there’s no quick fix.”
You only have to look at the personnel of those unavailable to understand where McDonaugh is coming from. Danny Handling, Allan Smith, Marc Laird, Andy Black, Kieran Stewart and Calum Hall are just some of the walking wounded around Ainslie Park with Liam Henderson and Scott Shepherd also forced off during last weekend’s defeat at Cliftonhill. Captain Josh Walker was also sidelined for six months and has only recently made his return.
“I know the gaffer has made a concerted effort to try and not talk about the injuries as he doesn’t want it to come across as an excuse but it’s got to the point that there are so many of us sitting on the sidelines,” said Dunn, who is still hopeful of securing a new deal for next season. “Hopefully we can get a few more back before the play-offs but unfortunately I won’t be one of them.
“The guys have done a brilliant job all season and I still think we’ve got a lot of quality on the pitch. We’re good enough to beat any team in the league on our day so it’s just a case of ironing out the small mistakes that have crept in these last few weeks. I still believe we have a good chance of being promoted.
“I certainly want to be here next season, irrespective of the division we’re playing in. I’m not going to get too far ahead of myself, or even worry about contracts. I’ll just need to wait and see. I still feel I can do a job if I get back fit. The manager has been really supportive and understanding. He’s kept me involved in the football side of things all year.”