Returning Shaw looks to ease veteran striker Benson’s workload

Reading Development v Luton Town Development. Photos by Liam Smith. wk 02.
Reading Development v Luton Town Development. Photos by Liam Smith. wk 02.

Fit-again Town striker Jon Shaw is looking to ease the load on team-mate Paul Benson after finally recovering from hernia and calf problems that have blighted his season, writes Mark Wood.

The 30-year-old striker played almost half an hour in Monday’s 4-1 development match victory at Reading.

On competing for a place up front, he said: “It’s not so much competition, it’s more easing the load on Paul.

“I think he’s worked extremely hard, it’s no secret he’s 34, coming up to 35.

“He’s unbelievably fit and he’s done brilliant for us. If I can play some sort of part, whether it be with him, for him, even if it’s just a rest for him, I want to get back out on the pitch.

“Let’s see what happens in the next few weeks and hopefully I’ll be back involved as soon as possible.”

And he’s hoping he may be able to play a part as early as this weekend’s FA Trophy tie at arch rivals Cambridge United.

He continued: “I think that was the aim of today (the Reading game). Even though it was on an astroturf pitch to try and get some sort of game, some sort of minutes under my belt that isn’t training.

“Give my body a different type of stress and seeing as I’ve come through it I’ll be looking to Saturday and whether I’m on the bench or starting, hopefully I’ll be back involved.”

Goals from Alex Wall, Shaun Whalley, David Viana and Shaw gave Town a deserved win in Reading and Shaw was delighted to be back on the scoresheet.

He said: “It was a little bit of me, a little bit of the defender but, you know what, I’m always going to claim it.

“It’s good to get a few of them and know that you’ve come in, worked hard, had half an hour’s football, scored a goal, it’s what you come to work for.”

Shaw had only played one 30-minute spell in a development game since having his hernia operation after the goalless draw against Cambridge United back in August.

And he admitted he had found it tough, adding: “I got back fit after the hernia relatively fast and then a couple of weeks after in training I tore my calf, which kept going, the same calf, we couldn’t seem to nail down why it wasn’t fully healed.

“And then I was just about back from that and my other calf went, which comes with part of trying to shield my other one and again it just kept taking that little bit longer than probably it should have been.

“As you can imagine you keep getting setbacks, you keep getting little niggles and injuries and you don’t know when you are going to get back fit, especially when it’s a recurring injury.

“You keep giving yourself little goals to get back fit and when those goals disappear because you’ve had a relapse or a setback, they start to affect you a little bit.

“But luckily I’ve had great staff behind me, the lads are funny rather than supportive, but at the same time they’re all good to be around on a daily basis.

“It’s been frustrating, but we’re at the good side of it now, I’m back, I’m fit and the lads are doing well and I just can’t wait to be a part of it.”