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News Archive > Sport > Wheatley ready to repay faith shown

Wheatley ready to repay faith shown

By Tom Howe 21st October 2020

Wheatley ready to repay faith shown
Bodmin Town find their form in an 8-1 win over Porthleven

Former Hereford and Plymouth Argyle winger Sol Wheatley revealed a chat with manager Darren Gilbert persuaded him to join Bodmin Town instead of pursuing Southern League football.

Twenty-five last month, Wheatley made his third appearance for Town in Saturday’s 8-1 win over Porthleven at Priory Park as he makes baby steps towards fitness following 13 months sidelined with a serious anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

After being released by Argyle, Wheatley attended the prestigious Hartpury College and, having impressed for nearby Western League club Bishops Cleeve, stepped up to play Midland League football for Hereford.

It was during this time that he met Nathan Summers, a former Harpury and Hereford player himself, and now settled in at Bodmin Town after joining the ranks last season.

While Summers returned to Cornwall, Wheatley moved across the Atlantic to represent Florida Tech Panthers where he tore his ACL, a blow which required reconstruction and a quadriceps graft. “I feel pretty good now,” said the former Bideford, Paulton Rovers and Barnstaple Town ace, who began his football career at Brentford before joining Argyle at 13.

“I have been out injured for 13 months. You have got to take it easy. Gilbs is trying to feed me back in slowly and make sure that my knee is right before I start getting stuck in a bit more. It is about managing it and being sensible because it is still early in the season and we have got a lot of games to play.

I am looking forward to getting involved a bit more. “I am managing [the knee] myself at the moment because I am not at a pro club. It feels fairly strong, from where I have been, but I need to be sensible. Obviously I don’t want to be doing that again and that is why Gilbs is giving me little minutes now and again. Hopefully, next month, I will be match fit to start games.”

Bideford-based Wheatley, who can also play at full-back, scored eight goals and assisted seven during his time in Florida but, after so long on the treatment table, is glad to be back playing football once again - and what better place than Priory Park?

“I have been injured for a long time and could probably have gone for a Bideford, Barnstaple or Tiverton, all teams that are a bit closer to me. But I thought I would drop down - it has been a long time since I played - and get my confidence back, get fit and push on from there. It is a bit of a drive but we have got a good group of lads here and I liked what Gilbs was saying to me at the start of the season.

“There are not many players like me in the league. I am strong, powerful and quick but obviously I need to manage my knee and make sure that it is right. I am going back up to St George’s Park, where I do my rehab, next week to make sure my strength is there so I can push on.”

By Tom Howe 21st October 2020

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