KEIRAN MURTAGH believes Woking could be stronger for the loss of two key players, as their heart-breaking injuries brought the squad closer together.
The Cards became the first team to take something from National League leaders Forest Green Rovers last Tuesday night, with Murtagh playing a key role in the undoing of a side who had won nine from nine.
Few Woking fans could have anticipated such a performance. Ravaged by injury, Garry Hill hasn’t been able to call on last season’s top scorer Scott Rendell or centre-back Ismail Yakubu, who both suffered season-ending cruciate damage within days of each other.
Both visited the dressing room before the 2-1 victory and Murtagh, captain on the night, believes it helped inspire them.
He told The NLP: “It hasn’t been easy. To lose two of your talismen so early into the season, and so close to each other, would have been enough to break some teams.
“But we knew we had to just pull together and let it make us stronger as a group and I think we have reacted well to that. It’s not the best situation, but so far we’ve not let it affect our results.
“It’s been great seeing Scotty and Yaks, they’re in good spirits. They’re so popular here, as I think the fundraising has shown. We’re doing it for them.”
Murtagh himself is leaner and meaner this term. At 26, he has been working hard to get his body back to the shape it was in when big things were predicted for him in his early 20s.
“I’ve shed a few pounds over the summer,” the former Macclesfield and Mansfield midfielder said. “My aim was to just get back to the player I know I can be. I know what I can do when I am fully fit, so it’s just about getting there.
“The manager has been really supportive. I did as much as I could throughout the summer and he was happy with me.”
The club’s target is still the play-offs.
“We’ve had five wins from five, we can beat anyone here,” Murtagh said. “We’re not worried about any team.”