Hat-trick hero Al-Hamadi delighted to put injury woes behind him
Ali Al-Hamadi was relieved to put his recent injury nightmare with a hat-trick in Swansea City Under-23s’ victory over Charlton Athletic.
The Iraqi-born forward bagged his first treble for the development side as they twice came from behind to see off the in-form Addicks 4-3 at Princes Park on Monday.
It was the perfect way to mark his first full 90 minutes since September, having been ruled out for the last four months after sustaining a pars fracture to his lower back.
Al-Hamadi returned to action last week as he played the opening 60 minutes of the under-23s’ draw with Queens Park Rangers at Landore.
And after taking his goal tally for the season to four, the 18-year-old was pleased by the performance levels he demonstrated following his lengthy spell on the sidelines.
“It’s great to finally get back on the pitch and show people what I can do,” he said.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t over the moon. What pleased me the most was my performance.
“After being out for such a long time – especially after the injury I had – you maybe lose a little bit of confidence going into certain tackles because you’re just scared that the injury might happen again.
“But I played 60 minutes against QPR last week and thought I did alright for my first game in four months.
“Then, to play 90 minutes and get three goals, I couldn’t have asked for a better first full game back.”
Al-Hamadi, who signed his first professional contract in the summer, made a bright start to his maiden campaign with the under-23s; scoring in the 5-1 rout of Cardiff on the opening day.
But his momentum ground to an untimely halt just a few short weeks later.
“I felt my back during the second game of the season against Bristol City and played through it,” he reflected.
“As a footballer, you’re just desperate to play all the time.
“I couldn’t move or run properly, I couldn’t jump, I couldn’t land – I was just in excruciating pain.
“I went to see the physio and the scan showed that I had a fracture.
“It’s a 12-week recovery plan. For the first six weeks, you can’t do any force work, you have to rest. All you can do is core work in the gym, ice and massage.
“It was a tough rehab, but I just worked hard to get through it.”
After spending the best part of four months in the gym at Landore, Al-Hamadi is unsurprisingly eager to make up for lost time on the pitch.
With nine league games remaining for the development side this season, the young forward is desperate to produce optimum performance levels and add more goals to his tally over the remainder of the campaign.
“Football is a game of many ups and downs, so you’ve got to be able to flow and adapt to it,” he said.
“That’s what I’ve done and worked even harder to end the season as strongly as possible.
“Everyone knows I wear my heart on my sleeve and I do everything in my power to work towards my goals.
“As long as I keep performing well, the chances will keep coming and hopefully, the goals will follow.”