Wolves midfielder Jamie O’Hara isn’t likely to be derailed by a dead leg – after revealing there were times he felt close to quitting the game he loves.
The £5million midfielder is expecting to be available for Saturday’s crunch game at Bolton after being taken off in the 3-2 win at Birmingham on Easter Monday.
It was a dead leg sustained in the opening minutes of Saturday’s 3-2 victory against Middlesbrough that put O’Hara’s participation in the St Andrew’s derby in doubt.
Manager Dean Saunders eventually went with an unchanged side but took the former Tottenham schemer off after he had been booked, shortly after conceding the 55th-minute penalty that gave Blues a lifeline.
O'Hara said: "I got a dead leg in the first 10 minutes against Middlesbrough and I was struggling.
“To be honest, I thought I might not have played against Birmingham but I rested up and prepared right and managed to get out there.
“Getting an early booking probably killed my chances of staying out for the whole of the second half because the gaffer told me he took me off because he didn’t want me getting sent off.”
But that was all small beer to the hell he has gone through over the previous 12 months or more with three operations on his troublesome groin.
And the long struggle and seemingly constant setbacks made him feel at times as if he was never going to kick a ball again.
He said: “I’d had three operations and nothing seemed to be going right. I’m an impatient guy – I wanted to get back playing football because I was missing it so much.
"There were times when I thought that I might just have to retire. But the wife (celebrity WAG Danielle O’Hara) and the family kept me going and the physios have been tremendous as well.
“It’s a massive plus for me to be playing now.”
After so long on the sidelines, every game is a bonus for the 26-year-old.
It’s going to take a while before O’Hara returns to his best but after 18 games, following his comeback against Peterborough on Boxing Day.
But he is gaining valuable time on the pitch from which he feels he is improving with every match.
He said: “I’m feeling better every week. Hopefully, I can carry on getting my sharpness back by getting games.
“If I can play from now until the end of the season, I’ll have got 20 starts under my belt.
“That’s a massive plus for me after being out for so long.”
O’Hara had few complaints about the penalty he gave away for a push on Wes Thomas on the byeline
Alsor eferring to Blues’ second spot kick for Jack Robinson’s handball in an aerial challenge with Nikola Zigic, O'Hara said: "We gave two soft penalties away.
“I just tried to stand up – I was on the byeline thinking the ball was going to go out of play and he was clever in a way. He pushed back into me and then went over to win the penalty.
I felt the referee was looking to give them something with the game and we were hanging on in there for the last five minutes.
“But it had been a really good first-half performance. I thought we were tremendous all over the pitch in the first-half.
“We prepared really well for the game, because we knew it was going to be tough playing two games in three days.
“The three wins have given us a real lift.”