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Pringle: Grimsby Will Survive

By: Jostein Jensen
Date: 09/03/2002

GRIMSBY still pay Martin Pringle's wages, but having a broken leg he will still will be injured when his contract with Charlton ends in the summer.

Pringle's agent Craig Hutchinson admits that the injury came at the worst time for the Swede. "This is a big shame - he was just returning from a long lay-off as it was. At the moment we are hoping for a full recovery. Thankfully this isn't linked in any way to the injury that ruled him out of the last 12-13 months," said Hutchinson.

Talks regarding a new contract had already started when Stockport's Dave Challinor brought down Pringle with a horrendous tackle from behind. "Discussions are under way at the moment. Of course, there is a two-way complexion on this. While Charlton don't want to be seen to be callous towards a player, they have to be practical and we have to accept the practicalities of life."

Pringle is a great lad who doesn't get depressed by the injury, he rather wants to look forward. "He's no more depressed than I'd expect him to be. He's keeping his morale up and he should be able to fight his way back from this. Overall, Martin has been very lucky with injuries in his career - so we are certainly hoping for a full recovery."

Though has Pringle been warned that he might not can play again. "The doctor says that the bone will heal 100 per cent, but whether it will hold up or not for playing at that level again he can't say," said the former Swedish international.

The 31-year-old will now go four months with crutches, after a tackle in the middle of the pitch out of scoring position with the back against the attacking goal. "The only thing I will say is that I thought it was unnecessary. I wasn't in a dangerous area, I was on the halfway line, and that's what gets me.

"If I was outside the box I could understand it a little bit. But in your own half and nowhere near the goal? You can never be prepared to be two-footed from behind in a non-dangerous area..

"Right now I have no idea when I will play again. You will have to ask me in a couple of months. Maybe I have a high threshold for pain because it didn't hurt that much at first, although it should have done because both bones broke. However, I really felt it when they lifted me on to the stretcher and when my leg was put in plaster," said the Charlton player.

Pringle's injury problems only seem to continue - he was out eight months last time he got a similar injury. "It feels like I've been injured the whole time and I've just made a guest appearance on the pitch," said Martin who now goes around on crutches once again.

Stockport manager Charlton Palmer commented that he paid Challinor to play football, not chop the legs of other players.

"I was so clearly in front of him and on the ball. I knew he was going to be tight to me, but I didn't think he was going to lunge into me. I don't know what he was thinking," said Pringle.

"I was just devastated because it was a really good opportunity for me at Grimsby. If you're doing well it opens up many more doors than when you've been injured. Hopefully I'll get another year to get fit, but there's nothing written in the laws to say you have to be given it."

Pringle believes Grimsby will survive in the division after the short time he spent at the club. "From what I saw in the few days I was there I couldn't believe they were down the bottom. That was my first thought when I trained with them. I don't think they've got any problems in staying up.

All the crowd that came back for the Stockport game was what the team needed. They came for the Crystal Palace game and that lift was what everyone needed. They can make the difference this season to help Grimsby stay up. Then next season it's a new year and you start afresh. There's loads of games left and it looks a lot better for them."

It's likely that Andy Todd will sign an extended deal with the Mariners, and Pringle wants to come back to see him and the team in the run-in. "Andy is such a good player. I couldn't say for definite if he'll stay, but he wants to play football. If he's happy I think he'll stay. It's better for him to be playing first-team football than going back to Charlton and not playing at all. I wouldn't be surprised if he decides to stay for another month.

"Personally I haven't decided on anything yet, but it wouldn't be too surprising if I end up coming to a game up there," said Pringle who now is back in London after being operated in a hospital in Stoke last Friday.

Pringle saw Grimsby train before the Gillingham game. "I went to see the lads at their hotel on the day before the Gillingham match, and I also watched them train on the Tuesday morning. It was good to see them all again, and I certainly wish them and the fans all the best for the rest of the season."

He admits that he has got a heart for the club. "I only played 50 or 60 minutes in front of the Grimsby fans and, from the response I got afterwards, I realised what impact I had made, even though I was only a very short time. I have read every single e-mail and message that has been passed on to me by the club and this has done much to raise my spirits at a difficult time. I have to say the response of the Grimsby fans has overwhelmed me. I would like to say a sincere thank you to everybody who has wished me well. I would also like to thank Grimsby Town FC for giving me the opportunity to come to the club and thank all the management and staff there for the way they have looked after me, both before and particularly after my injury."

The shirt that Pringle was wearing on the night of his injury is to be auctioned, and the donated money will be given to Grimsby Town Handicapped Supporters Club.

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