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Shephard can't shoulder the goal burden after injury blow.

IT could be said that it's been painful to watch Newport County AFC over the last few weeks, but at least striker Gary Shephard will have the pills to numb the pain, writes Mark Bloom.

The 22-year-old forward will be out of the game for at least six months following an incident last week against Newport IOW when he fell on his shoulder, which put paid to any more involvement this season.

"Shep" has not had the best of seasons, scoring just nine goals, and this latest incident after several setbacks this season through niggling injuries, has just capped an indifferent few months.

He said: "I just ran after a pass from Darren Ryan and a player caught me when I was in full flight and I landed right on my shoulder. You could hear the crack.

"I got to my feet and I felt a big lump sticking out of my shoulder.

"My shoulder had dropped and my collarbone had come past my shoulder joint by about 10mm.

"I have been told I have to have the 10mm cut off, all the ligaments have come away and need to be sewn back together and the bones have to be screwed back with metal rods.

"I am having my first op this weekend and the specialist has told me that it will take around six months before I can kick a ball again."

Apart from the glorious FA Cup encounter with Second Division Blackpool, Newport's season has never really got out of first gear and with the latest news that Shephard is out they could find themselves struggling even more to find the back of the net.

"I really don't know why we haven't scored the goals.

"Last week against Newport IOW we absolutely took them apart, but the keeper had one of those games where he was simply not going to get beat.

"But I still think the club will finish in the top five.

When you look back we haven't done that bad with an FA Cup run and an FAW Premier Cup quarter-final match against Swansea City.

"We now need to get together and push on in the League and start climbing out of the bottom half of the table.

"From a personal view I can't wait for the op and get sorted for next term."

With such a long lay-off the former Merthyr Tydfil player will have to watch his weight, as he confesses to liking the odd pie here and there.

He said: "12st is my ideal weight and anything less than that I become too light and get pushed off the ball, but I do like my food, like chips and kebabs."

CAPTION(S):

TOUGH TIMES Gary Shephard.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 26, 2002
Words:454
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