After being crowned as Crystal Palace Women's Utilita Player of the Season for the 2018/19 campaign, this season promised to be a special one for Ashlee Hincks.
Unfortunately, during the Eagles' second game of the campaign, the striker suffered a season-ending injury. We caught up with No.10 to find out how her recovery is going - below is Hincks' column from the Arsenal matchday programme.
Dean Davenport and the club have been fantastic during my injury lay-off. The situation is different in the women’s game but Palace and the manager have done everything within their capabilities to help me.
I’ve been out since 8th September and I’ve now finally received my date for surgery which isn’t until 10thMarch. However, despite that being a couple of months away, it is nice to have it confirmed as it gives me a focus.
A long-term injury is frustrating enough but having to wait for the surgery adds to those frustrations because once I have the operation it will be between six to nine months before I’m back out there with the team. If I was at the rehabilitation stage already then I’d find it easier because you can set yourself goals in terms of walking, running, lifting weights but for now it is a waiting game.
Fortunately, at the age of 31, I am relieved to say this is my first long-term injury. And the biggest struggle for me has been having no one to blame. This was just a freak incident that occurred when I sent in a cross against Lewes. In a weird way, I’d have rather been clattered by an opponent.
Despite my injury, I’ve been keeping myself busy in regards to being around the team – Dean has been great in keeping me involved. I still attend games to support my teammates, and my role as vice-captain is one I take seriously and enjoy. Although I’m not out there on the pitch I still find I am able to take an active role.
It’s been quite an eye-opener for me watching from the sidelines for such a sustained period of time; you see the game completely differently. I would say it has given me a greater appreciation of all my teammates because I am able to get a view of the whole pitch – I’m a No.9 so naturally most of my time is spent in the final-third and therefore I usually have a limited view.
My injury has actually opened up a couple of other doors for me and I recently did co-commentary with Mark Bright for our Women’s Weekend game against London City Lionesses. What a great experience that was. Mark was lovely and passionate about the game and the squad.
Since Mark last covered a game we’ve had quite a large squad overhaul so I enjoyed discussing the exciting changes around the squad with him and bringing him up to speed with the new players that have joined.
In particular, new players Annabel Johnson, Amy Goddard and Ashleigh Goddard have been fantastic for us. But also important players for us from last season in the likes of Andria Georgiou have continued to impress. We are massively improved on last season and I am gutted to not be a part of it.
Last season we struggled to create opportunities and my role as the No.9 was to be the first line of defence. However, this campaign we are creating plenty of chances and I am itching to get back out there and get on the end of them.
You can join Ashlee Hincks in the terraces this Sunday by securing your tickets for the FA Cup clash v Brighton & Hove Albion. Under-16s go free, whilst there is discount for Season Ticket holders and tickets purchased in advance. Click the banner below to secure your seat now.