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Monday 18 December 2017

Stephen Henderson's focus is on his day job

Winning return after 3-month lay off for Hendo

Stephen Henderson
Stephen Henderson

IRELAND hopeful Stephen Henderson, back to fitness after an injury almost ruined his entire season, has put his international ambitions on hold for now to focus the day job, keeping his club in the Championship.

But fans of Charlton Athletic are certainly pleased to see the 26-year-old back between the posts after a three-month absence due to a shoulder injury which could have seen him sidelined for the whole campaign.

Addicks supporters have had little to cheer about in recent times, so Saturday's 3-0 dismissal of London rivals Brentford certainly put a smile on their faces, Henderson their lucky charm: the first win in 14 games as Dubliner Henderson was in goal for the previous win, way back in November.

The shoulder injury back in November came at a very bad time as he was probably the most in-form Irish keeper in England at the time, and the ex-U21 international, still uncapped at senior level, should have been in the Irish squad at least. A much-wanted senior cap is still on his agenda but other issues come first.

"Ireland is not even in my thoughts now. I will just see out the season with Charlton, and hope that down the road my performances with my club will get me recognition in other areas," says Henderson, an unused sub six times for Ireland.

"Staying up is now the focus as things have really gone downhill in the last while. We turned the corner with that win on Saturday and hopefully we can look up the table now, not down.

"It was hard to be out for as long as I was but it could have been worse, I could have missed the whole season. It was a real possibility that the season was over for me and I had that in my head.

"I saw so many specialists, and no one could get to the bottom of the problem. But in the end I underwent surgery, they basically cleaned it out, they did keyhole surgery, there had been some cartilege floating about so they cleared all that up.

Hopefully, I can get another 15 games in now before the end of the season. The aim on Saturday was to get the win and me to come out without any side-effects, and it went really well, a win, a clean sheet, and my shoulder felt great."

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