Byron Anthony on the road to recovery
BYRON Anthony will make an emotional return to Rodney Parade on Saturday to cheer on Newport County AFC against his old club Bristol Rovers.
The defender broke the tibia and fibula bones in his right leg in the Exiles’ Capital One Cup triumph at Brighton & Hove Albion last week.
He’s been in hospital on the south coast and a rehabilitation centre in London ever since but now he’s back home in Newport and looking forward to the big game against the Pirates.
“I’ll be at the game and I’m buzzing for it,” said Anthony.
“It should be a good feisty local derby and I’ll go and see the boys before kick-off and then cheer them on with my family.
“I was listening on the radio from my hospital bed last week [as County lost 3-1 at Northampton] and it was frustrating so hopefully the boys can bounce back against Rovers.”
The Newport-born centre-back recalled the sickening moment when he knew he’d been seriously injured at the Amex Stadium last week in a collision with Brighton’s Inigo Calderon, who was sent off for the challenge.
“I remember playing a one-two with Ryan Jackson and I saw Calderon coming towards me,” he said.
“Obviously I got there first and he came in a bit late and then I heard like a shotgun noise and the crowd going ‘oohh’.
“My leg went numb at first but then the pain hit and everything went into slow motion from then on.
“The medics at Brighton were great with me and so was our physio Wayne Jones and Calderon stayed with me as well.
“I haven’t watched it back and I don’t want to really but it was just one of those things.
“As footballers we know it’s a contact sport and you’ve got to give it all you’ve got. I’m in a positive mood and looking forward to the rehab and coming back stronger than ever.”
Anthony paid tribute to Calderon, who accompanied him to hospital in Brighton while the match was ongoing.
“He was the ultimate pro,” said the 28-year-old. “He followed me in the ambulance and stayed with me in hospital.
“I had to tell him to go home in the end! I said ‘there’s nothing more you can do’ and he took my number and he’s texted me to make sure I’m OK.”
And the former Wales under-21 international is feeling positive about his recovery ten days after the incident.
“It was a double fracture to my tib and fib but it was a clean break and there was no dislocated ankle,” he added.
“I had the op at 10.30 the morning after it happened and I’m feeling pretty good now.
“I’ve been on pain control all week and I’m getting around on my feet and putting 80 to 90 per cent weight on the leg so I’m making good progress.
“I have an x-ray on September 26 and after that I’ll be able to look ahead to making my comeback. I don’t want to jump ahead and put a timeframe on it before then.”
Wales manager Chris Coleman has been in touch to wish him all the best and Anthony will be given special treatment by County chairman Les Scadding this weekend.
“I’ll be watching from a hospitality box thanks to the chairman and I’m very grateful to him for that,” said Anthony.
“I’ll be with my partner Chloe, who has been a star this week, my mum and dad Debbie and Nigel, my brothers Owen and Greg and Susan and Viv, my partner’s parents.
“I’d rather be out there with the lads but it will be great to watch us get a win with my family.”