Wolves’ goalkeeping coach Pat Mountain has backed Wayne Hennessey to once again bounce back from his latest injury nightmare – admitting the re-occurrence of his cruciate ligament injury is scant reward for his attitude and commitment.
Hennessey is set to face further surgery and another lengthy rehabilitation after suffering disruption to the cruciate repair in training on Monday, weeks after having returned to full work and with two-and-a-half reserve matches already under his belt.
The Welsh number one had won praise far and wide for his positive spirit and excellent attitude to his rehabilitation over the last seven months, and Mountain says he is already gearing up for more of the same to do it all again.
He says: “For the likes of myself and the other goalkeepers who have worked closely with him, and the medical staff as well, when you have seen just how much he has put into his rehabilitation it is such a massive blow.
“And it feels worse because he has done absolutely everything by the book, and worked tirelessly to get back to fitness.
“So this is so tough for him, and it’s not fair, but I suppose life isn’t fair and Wayne knows there are far worse situations he could be in.
“His reaction to the news was as superb as it has been throughout his recovery.
“It was just a case of ‘right, this is happened, let’s not dwell on it and just get on and do it all again’.
“It is with that sort of attitude and spirit that he will bounce back and once he has had his surgery he will focus everything on what he has to do to get fit again.
“In doing that he will get all the support he needs from the club, and from myself and all the other goalkeepers.
“Clearly I’ve done a lot of individual work with him and you can see how his strength of character has developed a person as a result of the setback.
“The other goalkeepers had really supported him and in turn Wayne has supported them – he has been delighted to see Carl (Ikeme) doing so well and like all the seniors has been back helping out the other young Academy keepers as well.
“Wayne had done a lot of training with the Development squad before joining the first team again and half the time I had to go down to their dressing room and find him because he was getting involved in all their banter!
“He has been absolutely first class, which makes this news all the more difficult to take, but I am sure he will now show the same commitment and dedication which got him back in the first place to overcome the injury again.”
The medical department had taken every precaution with Hennessey’s recovery, working in conjunction with external specialists at every stage before making decisions, and the keeper has come through many weeks of physical training as well as the reserve team action.
“It was so innocuous when it happened on Monday,” added Mountain.
“We were out there and he was moving from right to left and just pushing off to make a save, doing something he has done hundreds of times since he came back.
“It wasn’t even the heaviest of sessions that we do – again he has done far more physical work since he came back and even trained outfield with the Development Squad at times to assist his recovery.
“He just felt something wasn’t right with the knee and it suddenly felt sore so he went straight in to be checked out.
“He’d done his time with the outdoor work and had come through two-and-a-half reserve games without any sort of problem, including making some very good saves as well.
“When the scan results were known on Tuesday I think everyone concerned was just gutted for him but we will all be there to help him get straight back on the road to recovery.”
And one area where Mountain and the clubs’ keepers will also be keen to see Hennessey back is for the games of ‘football golf’, which take place once a week at the end of training sessions.
The popular game usually involves all the keepers – senior and Academy – as a bit of light-hearted fun as well as cementing the banter and togetherness of the Molineux goalkeeping union.
“Wayne has been doing pretty well in the football golf so he will be missed,” added Mountain.
“I’m sure time will fly and he will be back before we know it but in the meantime myself and the other lads might have a bit more of a chance…..”