Joe Lewis: I feared knee injury had finished my season

Joe Lewis had expected to be out for the season, but his comeback at the weekend has left him relishing the prospect of an eventful run-in
Joe Lewis had expected to be out for the season, but his comeback at the weekend has left him relishing the prospect of an eventful run-in
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A midweek trip to Motherwell might not appeal to everyone but the Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis is positively relishing the prospect after fearing his season was over when he was carried off during a 3-0 defeat at Ibrox in January.

Doctors initially informed him the surgery required to fix the knee damage sustained in an accidental collision probably meant being sidelined until the summer but he recovered quickly enough to return in the weekend win against St Johnstone.

Not only that, a clean sheet at Fir Park tonight will be enough to guarantee the Dons move back above Rangers into second place, regardless of whether or not they score during their game in hand.

Then, after a visit to Tynecastle on Saturday they’ll be preparing for another meeting with Motherwell in the Scottish Cup semi-final, with Lewis relieved to be playing a key role instead of watching from the stands.

He said:“I got back ahead of schedule really as initially the scan suggested that it was going to be the end of the season.

“Obviously it’s the business end now so it’s great to be back. They eased me in on 
Saturday as well as I didn’t have much to do.

“We go to Motherwell now and that’s our main focus but there’s some big games coming up. Looking forward we’ve got Hearts away and then the Scottish Cup semi-final and hopefully the final after that.

“They’re all massive games and ones as a player that you want to be a part of, so I’m delighted to be fit and ready for the run-in.”

Not that he will take anything for granted on that score as Lewis is only too well aware that the nature of the job means fellow goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, on loan from Newcastle United, may be required again.

“It’s part of the job that you’re going to get collisions like that one at Ibrox,” he admits. “You just hope that they’re not bad and you need to make sure that it doesn’t affect you going into the next one.

“More often than not you come out of them unscathed but every now and then you get caught with a boot or a knee or something like that and you get injured.

“I’ve been experienced enough now to know that you need to keep going into these challenges and that’s part and parcel of being a goalkeeper.

Lewis certainly knows from previous experience not to expect an easy night at 
Fir Park as arguably his poorest Aberdeen performance came in their 3-0 defeat there in the League Cup last September.

Not only that but Motherwell are the only team currently in the bottom six of the Premiership to beat the Dons in the league this season.

That’s why neither Lewis nor Dons boss Derek McInnes, pictured, will be taking it for granted that they’ll get the result that will move them above Rangers into second.

He added: “Even with Louis Moult leaving they haven’t been badly affected, which shows they are not a one-man team.

“They have a lot of strengths that we have had a look at and we will try to nullify them and impose our game.”

With the much criticised Pittodrie playing surface in mind, he added: “It will be nice to play on some grass as well, so hopefully we will be able to produce our best football.

“Of course it will be a boost for the semi-final if we win although Fir Park is always a tough place to go and play.

“They have got a great work ethic down there as they all work hard for each other and it’s always tough against a team like that.

“The Old Firm have gone there and have been troubled and no one has walked over them on their own pitch.”

Aberdeen are likely to be unchanged as midfielders Niall McGinn and Chidi Nwakali are both still injured.