Morecambe ‘keeper Roche knew Arestidou would take his chance

Barry Roche's rehab from hip surgery is going well.
Barry Roche's rehab from hip surgery is going well.

Barry Roche insists he always knew his long-time understudy Andreas Arestidou would seize his chance in the Morecambe first team.

Roche, out for the season after hip surgery, was first replaced by loanee Scott Davies with Arestidou also out injured.

But since the Wembley winner’s return to Fleetwood the Lancaster-born stopper has impressed as the Shrimps have drawn all five of their games in 2015.

Roche said: “It was a strange one.

“Scott came in because Stav (Arestidou) was injured at the same time as me.

“Scott did exceptionally well and it was all over the media how the gaffer wanted to keep him and there seemed to be a little bit of doom and gloom when Scott went.

“I just didn’t see that.

“I’ve worked with Stav for two years and I know how good he is.

“The fans haven’t seen how good he is but in my mind there was no doubt he would do the business because he’s a very good goalkeeper.

“I have told him not to get too comfortable though because I want the shirt back!”

The 32-year-old Irishman admits watching from the sidelines has been tough having rarely missed games down the years through injury.

He said: “It’s awful.

“I don’t watch football well when I’m not involved.

“I’ve found it very hard coming in every Saturday and watching the lads.

“You want to be out there kicking every ball and it’s frustrating.

“For the first month or so being stuck in the gym when the lads went to training was very difficult to deal with.

“I’ve come to terms with that now after I’ve seen improvements in the hip.”

His rehabilitation from the season-ending injury is going well and has included a stint at the National Football Centre at St George’s Park, Burton.

Roche said: “About two weeks after I came off the crutches I went over there for a week’s intensive rehab.

“The difference that made was brilliant.

“The facilities they’ve got there and the hands on staff are great.

“They’ve basically got one physio for every player which is a lot different to club football where a physio has to look after 20-odd players.

“It was really, really beneficial.

“I’m back down there in a couple of weeks for another week and it’ll hopefully help me out an awful lot.”

Despite being pleased with his progress Roche is refusing to rush a return as he targets being fit for the start of pre-season in July.

He said: “I’ve written the season off.

“If I got back towards the end of the season I might play in a couple of reserve games.

“But in reality it’s the start of pre-season I’m looking at.

“My target is to go into the off season knowing I’m fit.

“That for me is very important but at the same time speaking with (physio) Simon Farnworth here there’s no point in rushing the injury for the sake of one or two weeks at the end of the season.

“I’ve had a big operation, a serious injury and I need to make sure it’s right.

“If that means taking a little bit of extra time to do that then that’s what I’ll do.”