Owls hero Sidibe justifies decision not to hang up boots

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SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY goal hero Mamady Sidibe has revealed that he seriously considered quitting the game following his injury woes at parent club Stoke City.

The loan striker basked in the glow of his first goal since February 2010 after netting the winner in the Owls’ 1-0 triumph at Bolton on Boxing Day.

The positive headlines are a far cry from those he has read for the previous three and a half years with the Malian suffering major misery at Stoke, where he has undergone four serious operations.

Sidibe’s tale of misfortune started in March 2009 when he suffered a cruciate injury.

The 6ft 3ins forward then snapped his Achilles tendon in a Premier League game for the Potters against Spurs in August 2010 before suffering the same injury in training the following February.

After hitting the comeback trial again, Sidibe required oxygen following a second serious knee injury in a reserve game in October 2011, with that final setback prompting him to question whether to hang up his boots.

Thankfully, he kept the faith as did Potters chief Tony Pulis, who gave him a 12-month deal in the summer despite his injury travails, with Sidibe also thankful to the support of Owls manager Dave Jones in handing him a loan lifeline.

Sidibe, 33, said: “I was not playing for two and a half years, so for me to score against Bolton was special. To play was the most important thing, but to score as well and for us to win was fantastic. It’s my first Boxing Day playing for a long time, so it was good.

“It had been a long time without a goal. I have had so many problems with injury.

“Last year after I injured my knee I thought it was the end of it as I’d had too many injuries and missed too many games.

“But I kept going and am playing again and am starting to enjoy it.

“I have to give thanks to Sheffield Wednesday and especially Dave Jones because he gave me the chance to play games and come to the Championship.”

On his future, Sidibe, whose loan deal was extended until January 19 last week, added: “I don’t know what will happen. I just need to keep fit and stay on the team and hopefully no more injuries. Hopefully, I can keep playing well and do what I can do and we’ll see.

“It’s a great challenge to get Sheffield Wednesday out of the relegation zone. The staff have been good and given me confidence and I wanted to stay.”

While Sidibe took great personal satisfaction from his match-winning strike at Bolton, he also hailed the Owls’ fighting spirit as they claimed a third successive win and clean sheet to move out of the drop zone.

He added: “I am here to give 100 per cent. Before I came, I knew the club’s situation and I am here to fight and give everything I can.

“There’s more confidence in the team now and the fighting spirit is really high. You can see the difference.”

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