Fitzgerald: If I’m playing, it’s not a good sign

Glasgow Clan's ongoing injury issues meant coach Zack Fitzgerald was back in action in Cardiff. Not a good thing according to him. (PHOTO: David Williams)

Glasgow Clan coach Zack Fitzgerald admits it’s been an interesting time as injuries and illness tested his team in the last few weeks.

The Scottish side have seen as many as four or five players missing in recent games as their good early recent form hit some issues with bodies down.

But it’s given Clan’s rookie boss plenty to ponder as he navigated some tricky fixtures missing some fairly key players in the last few weeks, including making a playing comeback himself.

“It’s been an interesting couple of weeks here certainly, but every team goes through adversity with injuries and sickness,” he said.

“With sickness, it’s about trying to isolate it and making sure it’s not brought into the team and can be a vicious circle.  

“Injuries have hit us, so I’m grateful to be able to bring a couple of players in help reinforce the team.  It’s been hard on the team and we’ve been playing down most of the season so far.

Craig Peacock is expected to return to action this weekend after a spell out through injury (PHOTO: Al Goold)

“Things have been catching up with the team so we’ve been lucky to bring a couple of guys in.  Jacklin and Chad Smith have been good for us and it’s been a whirlwind.

“It meant I came back to the ice and we’re fortunate where I’m able to do that if needed.  My main position is defence, but it’s good to go forward again.

“It’s been good to set my standard and I’m not too much of a disruption for me to jump into the room.  Half the guys have played with me before so know I’m all about anyway.

“It’s not a position I want to be in.  Do I want to be playing? I’ll do anything to help the team, but it’s not a good sign if we’re down on bodies where I have to play.”

The injury crisis looks like being over the worst when Clan head to Manchester Storm on Friday night for the first game of another action packed weekend in the Elite League.

Craig Peacock and Linden Springer have recovered from injury, while Mac Howlett and Nolan LaPorte are over sickness bouts that kept them out of action last week.

Zack Fitzgerald should be back behind the bench for Glasgow Clan this weekend (PHOTO: Al Goold)

Scott Tanski remains sidelined, but Chad Rau will miss out as his wife is due to give birth any day now.

But Fitzgerald admits trips to the Storm is quite different to any other game because of the smaller dimensions of the rink, but he’s keen to see his team get back to winning ways after defeats in the last three.

He added: “There’s been a lot of ups and downs for us in the last few weeks so we’ve been refocussed on our game and what we want to do.

“For us, it’s about doing the right things.  The Manchester rink is so different to anywhere else in the league in terms of size and it can be a completely different there.

“It’s like a pinball machine, with the puck going all over the place.  We saw Travis Ehrhardt trying to score from our own blue line for example.

“It’s about being mentally prepared and we have to be committed to blocking shots, hitting shots when we have, focussing on our D zone and not letting them get shots to the net.

“We have to go in there with a good attitude and good focus and that will base my outlook for the weekend.”

LISTEN: Check out the full interview with Glasgow Clan head coach Zack Fitzgerald on this week’s British Ice Hockey podcast 

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