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John Herron hoping he will be fighting fit for Larne’s Europa Conference League mission


Larne ace John Herron has been suffering from an injury complaint

Larne ace John Herron has been suffering from an injury complaint

©INPHO/Jonathan Porter

Larne ace John Herron has been suffering from an injury complaint

Midfielder John Herron is hoping his injury nightmare ends before Larne’s Europa Conference League first qualifying round tie against St Joseph’s of Gibraltar at Inver Park early next month.

The 28-year-old may have played a crucial part in his team’s Euro Play-Off Final win over Glentoran at The Oval last month, but he admits it was an agonising experience.

Tiernan Lynch’s men trailed 2-0, but produced an astonishing revival with striker Ronan Hale — who recently left the club to join Cliftonville — bagging four goals.

Herron missed the final five games of the Danske Bank Premiership campaign, but hopes a recent diagnosis will help resolve the problem.

“I have an injury called Plantar Fasciitis,” says the former Celtic and Glentoran midfielder.

“It’s a ligament in the bottom of my foot, which is inflamed.

“It becomes very sore when I jog, or even walk. I didn’t play the last five games, but came on against Glentoran in the European Play-Off Final when we were 2-0 down. I had an injection before it, but it didn’t help.

“The problem developed in the final match before the split. I thought I would have been ready for the Play-Off Semi-Final, but again I was disappointed.

“Although I was hobbling about when the gaffer brought me on at half-time against Glentoran, thankfully I was able to make a contribution.

“I had to get on with it and try to help the team. I did okay, but wish I could have done more. I had some time off over the last few weeks and had a good holiday, but it still hasn’t got any better.

“I went to see a specialist last week and he’s going to make me insoles for my boots, hopefully that will help. I have been working in the gym since we have returned, but haven’t managed to join in with the boys.

“Hopefully the insoles will help.”

Larne had a fantastic run in Europe last season, defeating Bala Town and Danish side Aarhus before being beaten by Pacos de Ferreira of Portugal in the Conference League third qualifying round.

“We had a great taste of Europe last year,” adds Herron.

“We did really well in what was the club’s first European venture. It’s good to go away into Europe, it’s a good build-up to the new season.

“It helps with the camaraderie of the squad — and it’s something we can take into the start of the Irish League campaign. It gives us the chance to spend a bit of time together, bring a bit more harmony to the group, it helps bring us a bit closer.

“Tiernan has brought in a few new faces, so it’s a chance for them to gel with the group as well.

“We had a fairytale run last year and it would be great to experience that again.”

The prize for defeating St Joseph’s is a game against Slavia Prague, but Herron insists: “We will be looking no further than our first-round game. It will probably be looked at as a favourable draw for us, but it will still be a tough game.

“With Slavia Prague in the next round, it’s a great incentive for us, but we’ll not be looking at that game. We know there are no easy games in European football, our focus will be on St Joseph’s.

“Hopefully I can have the injury sorted out for the European games — that’s now my goal.”

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