THE battle for Conference National promotion is definitely getting spicy… and County defender Tony James is feeling the heat.
The 34-year old Exiles defender had a scare on Wednesday night when a rogue chilli on a marinated tuna steak potentially put his life in jeopardy after he suffered a severe allergic reaction.
The former Hereford defender was rushed to A&E by his wife and admits that, for the sake of his health, he’ll be sticking to non-chilli products in the future.
He explained: “I had my tea at 5.30pm, something I’ve had before, a tuna steak with a chilli marinade, and within two hours of eating it I was burning up.
“The wife said I looked a bit red and then all of a sudden there were veins popping out of my head, sweating, swelling, my whole body went bright red, including my legs, everything.
“It can be fatal, your throat can swell up, so the wife took me straight to A&E and we were seen straightaway.
“Thankfully, by the time we arrived it wasn’t burning so badly so they gave me antihistamines and sent me on my way.
“My head was killing me, the whole experience was unsettling, very strange.
“It’s not even something I’ve never eaten, but it was a scary one and I guess I’ll have to lay off the chilli now, I think it scared the family a little bit.”
James will be in the squad to face Lincoln City tomorrow after completing a full training session yesterday but the Exiles do have a slew of injury concerns.
Almost definitely ruled out is defender Ismail Yakubu, who has gone down with a flu bug that has also laid low boss Justin Edinburgh.
Max Porter, Lee Minshull, Andrew Hughes and David Pipe all sat out training on Thursday but are expected to shake off niggles.
Both Minshull and Hughes felt twinges after playing on Tuesday in a behind-closed-doors match against Bath University. The game gave striker Danny Crow an opportunity to play a full 90 minutes, a timely return as Michael Smith has departed Rodney Parade and return-ed to parent club Charlton Athletic.
Crow came off the bench last Friday against Wrex-ham in a game rightly lauded for the quality on show, but James insists he took no enjoyment from it.
“Virtually (everyone) has told me they thought the Wrexham game was a great spectacle and an advert for the league, but to be honest it wasn’t enjoyable to play in, it was very tight and very tense and a day where any mistake could cost you.
“I felt a little bit nervous and we’d have loved to have won, but we were pleased with our performance.
“We’ve got a good run of games now and it’s up to us to push on and get as many points as we can.”