Ollie Palmer put his ‘frustrating start’ to life at Wimbledon behind him by getting off the mark on Saturday – and he’s determined to help us climb the League One table.
The experienced forward thought he would miss only the first few games of this season as he recuperated from a groin operation, but the match against his old club Lincoln City was his first 90 minutes for Wimbledon in the league.
“It has been the most frustrating start to the season I have ever had – hands down,” said Ollie. “I had surgery in the summer, which I never had previously in my career. I built up from that, started training again in October-November, but I tore my quad, and then I had to wait another four or five weeks. I built up my fitness again, got back to playing, and I did well against Doncaster, but then there was a Coronavirus outbreak, and I had to spend two weeks at home. Then you have to build up your fitness again because they don’t want you to risk another injury.
“I get in the team, score, play well, and though it was not the result we wanted there was the opportunity to go again for the Wigan match, but it gets called off. Now, I’ve got to wait another two weeks for a league game. It has been the most frustrating stop-start season that I’ve had, but you have to deal with it and it’s the same for other lads too. Luke O’Neill has had a tough time with an injury. He required surgery, but then had to wait due to the Coronavirus outbreak. It’s not just been like this for me, and it’s been frustrating, but I just have to get my head down and be ready for when more opportunities come.
“It was hard to be sitting on the bike in pre-season and watching the boys get the minutes in. I was hoping to be involved from the second or third league game, but then I had this tear in my quad, which I’m still trying to deal with now. I have just had a niggling pain from it, but it’s something I can manage and get through. It’s part and parcel of the job.”
Ollie wants to play a part in getting Wimbledon back to winning ways and he was delighted to strike his first Dons goal, but he can’t wait for the day when the celebrations are in front of our supporters at Plough Lane.
“I want to be out on that pitch scoring and mainly I want the team to be winning. I think you can see from the Oxford and Lincoln games that we are more than capable of doing that, but it’s just a little bit of bad luck. I think we can turn the form around.
“It always gives you an extra spring in your step when you get a goal. It’s something I had been waiting for. I had to be patient with my injury and getting a start in the team, but of course it meant a lot to me. It’s the way I play, I’m a passionate player, I am never going to be able to celebrate like Thierry Henry and not smile! It meant a lot, and I want more of it really.
"It’s an amazing stadium, it’s perfect for the club as it’s in a great area, but without the fans it’s just a football pitch right now. You can see when you’re out there that when it’s full it will be unbelievable. The noise will stay in the stadium because of the surrounding buildings and the sooner we get the fans in the better.”
Due to injuries and illness, Jack Currie, Zach Robinson, Archie Procter, and Huseyin Biler were all on the substitutes’ bench for the match versus Lincoln City and Ollie said that’s a real positive sign for the future. Ollie knows James Oliver-Pearce from the start of his career at Woking, and he believes that our academy coach provides a very good influence in nurturing young footballers.
“I seen a photo of one of the youth teams from years ago and I realised there were about nine of them training with us! There were about four or five of them on the bench on Saturday, so that’s amazing. It’s a credit to the football club and the way that they want to build and involve all the young lads. Rightly so because they deserve to be training with us, there is some really good talent out there. Anthony is a bit older, but you forget he’s only 20 and he’s played so many games. There are other young lads training with us and you think that they will have good careers as long as they keep their heads down and work hard.
“He's a great lad 'Sammy' (James Oliver-Pearce). If you wanted someone working with young lads it would be him. He’s a really good, bubbly, lad who wants the best for you. He is one of those good people in football, so they are in good hands, and hopefully he can keep producing some really good talent.”
Click on the link below to listen to Rob Cornell’s full interview with Ollie.