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Pyke willing to take chance to help Wildcats

By Andrew Dixon

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Highland Wildcats players James (left) and Andrew Pyke
Highland Wildcats players James (left) and Andrew Pyke

JAMES Pyke is set to defy the odds and make an earlier than expected return to the Highland Wildcats after his collarbone was shattered two months ago.

The 23-year-old was the Inverness-based side’s player of the season last year, but was injured during the club’s season opener against Carlisle Border Reivers.

He bagged a hat-trick of touchdowns in the thumping 55-0 home win in April. Since then, however, the Wildcats have slumped to four consecutive defeats without him.

The free-scoring running back, who is also an aggressive linebacker, was initially sidelined for the season, but is set to make his return against high-flying Dundee Hurricanes on Sunday — just 10 weeks after needing a four-and-a-half hour operation to reconstruct the broken bone.

“Recovery has been very painful, but it’s getting better,” he said. “I just want to get back involved.

“It is almost as painful for me watching the games because I just want to be on the pitch.

“I feel useless when I’m just standing there not doing what I want to be doing.”

He has returned to light training, while still undergoing physiotherapy and is aware of the risks he is taking.

“I need to make sure I am strong and ready to play,” said Pyke. “I have to avoid doing anything silly or stupid because I want to come back as soon as I can.

“I had a great start to the season, but then I was shot down like that.

“It frustrates me that I am here every week and can’t fully participate. Some people miss practices or games when they can play so that annoys me. I want to play this sport and help the team win so that we can do something this season.

“The fact that I am trying to get back is a bit of risk, but if I get through it I’ll be here for the rest of the season, which is a lot better than forecast. ”

His older brother Andrew (26) joined the team this season following a career in the army.

He has followed in his brother’s footsteps as a linebacker and has also had a stint at running back.

“James was definitely the reason I joined the Wildcats,” he said. “I know how much he loves playing the sport and I wanted to get a taste of it myself. It has been difficult without him in the side and I am a wee bit worried about him and his future if he gets hurt again, but I also know nothing will stop him playing.

“I just hope he gets through the next game unscathed so we can be confident he will be there for the rest of the season and I’m sure he will help us turn our form around.”

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