Better news for Mansfield Town over Bobby Olejnik injury

Mansfield's Bobby Olejnik.
Mansfield's Bobby Olejnik.

Mansfield Town have had better news on the serious knee injury suffered by goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik last week.

It seemed the in-form Austrian stopper could be out for a year, but doctors have now said he is so fit otherwise he may be back as quickly as nine months.

However, he still faces a long, tough road back to fitness from the ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and manager David Flitcroft said the club will support him all the way.

“Bobby had a meeting with a specialist on Monday night,” said Flitcroft.

“It showed that because he is so fit and his preparation is so good, potentially nine to 10 months is what we’re looking at now after we initially thought 12.

“He’s going to settle before they do the operation after Christmas. It will give him some reflection time with his family.

“Once he’s had his operation he will go back home while he’s in the very early stages of recovery.

“What we want to do then is break the nine to 10 months down into chunks as that’s a long period of time in a footballer’s life.

“Mentally, if we can help him with the first two months, then the slog doesn’t seem as long and hard.

“The last four months will seem a long time but he will actually enjoy them as he loves it in the gym. He needs to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Flitcroft said the injury was even harder to take with Olejnik being such a model professional.

“Bobby looks after himself so well,” he said.

“He’s a leader by performance and preparation. When it’s a catastrophic injury, it leaves you wondering why and how, because someone who puts so much into the game should get so much back from the game.

“It did leave the players gutted because of the form he was in.

“Even Conrad Logan, who now has an opportunity, was absolutely floored by the injury.

“Bobby does everything by the book and you only want good things to happen to people like that. It’s all about his preparation and how he lives his life.”

He added: “Bobby didn’t sulk when he was out the team last season. He just committed to himself and his performance and when he got his chance this season, he took it.

“I think the fight he’s had on his hands to get the number one spot here and how’s he’s done since he came in, that was the galling thing.

“He’s a goalkeeper but he’s also an athlete. We’re hoping that we can get him back within nine months.

“Knowing Bobby as I do and speaking to him after the event, he’s an incredibly positive guy and that positivity will get him back to where he needs to be.

“He will be back. There is no doubt. His mental strength is phenomenal.”

Recalling the injury on the training ground, Flitcroft said: “He just caught a ball and landed and his knee gave way on him.

“The nearest person to him was about a metre and a half.

“I think it would have been a lot worse had he not been in such good nick and his legs so strong. He is solid – an absolute rock.”

Stags now intend to extend their unbeaten run at Stevenage on Saturday in tribute to Olejnik.

“When you have a spirit and camaraderie like we’ve got, there’s going to be that devastation,” said Flitcroft.

“So we said at Forest Green let’s start a new set of clean sheets for Logan in Bobby’s name.”