George Johnston can’t wait to start playing again as Wanderers prepare to emerge from their enforced winter break.
Wanderers have been out of action since 11 December due to the number of positive COVID cases within the squad.
But after a week-long shut-down of their training ground Ian Evatt’s men were back together on Monday.
And while there may be a few still short of full fitness, Johnston is relishing a return to the fray with the New Year’s Day trip to current League One leaders Rotherham United set to go ahead.
“It’s been a tough two or three weeks with what happened around the club and the club being shut down, but it’s good to be back,” insisted the Wanderers’ defender.
“Hopefully, we’re through the worst. Everyone has come back this week kind of with a spring in their step because they’ve missed being on the pitch every day.
“It’s been a good week and everyone is just looking forward to getting back out there.
“Everyone is dying to get back playing a game now. You can train as much as you can but there does come a point when you want to play a game of football.
“Everyone is fully focused on Saturday now and raring to go.”
While Wanderers have seen their last three games postponed, Rotherham played fixtures either side of Christmas before their scheduled mid-week encounter against Lincoln City was called off.
That will give the Millers – whose defeat at Accrington on Boxing Day ended a 21-game unbeaten run in all competitions – the edge on match fitness.
But Johnston is aiming to start 2022 on a high as Wanderers belatedly reach the half-way point of their season by looking to kick-start a recovery on and off the pitch following successive away defeats at the start of December.
“I’d prefer to be playing every week and training than having a week off to recover,” added Johnston, who showed his versatility by operating in midfield and his preferred defensive role to help Wanderers through a pre-shutdown injury crisis which is also showing signs of abating.
“People think we will come back fresh but that’s not always the case, as footballers.
“You want to keep yourself ticking along. I know the lads here are good professionals and last week they will have been going on runs.
“But it’s not the same as playing football every day. They will have one up on us but we’re not going to use that as an excuse.
“We have got push it through it now. We’re at the back end of it and we’ve got to get the right results now.
“They will be looking to get back to winning ways, but so are we. We are both going in with the same mentality that we need to win the game.
“It’s probably the biggest game so far this season, with them being top of the league and the situation we’re in at the moment, so three points there would be massive for us.”
To watch George's pre-match interview, click HERE