‘It’s A Dream’: Anthony Novak Happy To Hit The Pitch Again
25-year-old striker Anthony Novak didn’t take long to impress when he made the jump from League1 Ontario into a professional environment with Canadian Premier League club Forge FC. The Pickering-born player scored just three minutes into his debut against Pacific FC in early May, and he’s looked sharp ever since.
Unfortunately for Forge FC fans, Novak spent a large spell on the sidelines after picking up an injury in Forge’s late-May match against FC Edmonton. He missed some 57 days of action as a result, though he’s now featured in the club’s last three games – albeit not for a full 90 minutes.
It looks like the former League1 Ontario golden boot winner may be ready to feature for a full match once again, with head coach Bobby Smyrniotis likely hoping the striker can help fill the sizable void left by the departure of Emery Welshman.
At face value, Novak is just happy to put his spell on the sidelines in the rear-view mirror, saying he’s just happy to be fit again:
It’s a dream. It’s great. My fitness is finally back up to par, so sessions are easier and everything is coming back to normal, and everything is sharp, so it’s kind of a relief.Anthony Novak
Novak will get his chance to add a third professional goal to his tally when Forge FC travels to Winnipeg to play against Valour FC this weekend, though the Winnipeg-based club won’t go down without a fight: it’s coming off a hard-earned win against York9 FC, and head coach Rob Gale will be eager to see Valour earn back-to-back wins for the first time in the club’s history.
Gale was the most active gaffer in the fall transfer window, bringing in two veteran players who haven’t taken long to gel with the squad. Another defensive signing came in last week, immediately helping to secure a clean sheet for the side.
Novak isn’t worried about the Winnipeg’s side efforts towards a fall season resurgence: he and the rest of the squad are simply focused on putting in a good performance and securing a result this Saturday. The club will play some nine games in 32 days after playing Valour, so Novak has simply been pleased to have spent the last week training without any travel involved:
We approach each team individually and we take each game as they come. The preparation is the exact same. We come in to training, and we’ve actually a good week because the games are coming in fast, 3-4 in the span of 12 days, so having this full week of training has been really nice.Anthony Novak
Forge’s own success in the CONCACAF League will see the Hamilton-based club pushed to the limit as the fall season enters the latter stages: with only 20 players on the roster, Bobby Smyrniotis doesn’t have a lot of depth to work with as injuries and fatigue inevitably mount up. The club needs to win the fall season if it’s to face natural rivals Cavalry FC in the Canadian Premier League Championship, and that means it can’t afford to have a lapse in form.
More likely than not, Novak will play a large role in how the club ultimately finishes the season. With Welshman gone and Jace Kotsopoulos likely to return to university in the near future, Bobby Smyrniotis won’t be left with many central strikers to choose from – though to be fair, most of the clubs goals have come from a certain midfielder.
Anthony isn’t worried about the what-ifs of the future, though: he’s a one-game-at-a-time kind of guy.
Each game is your most important game. Each game that comes up is the one you want to look forward to. There’s no looking past. We’re not looking towards Honduras right now: it’s just Valour for Saturday.Anthony Novak
Whether he’s looking towards Honduras or not, it’s certainly coming up. The match against CD Olimpia will likely represent the club’s toughest opponent yet: the reigning Honduran champion won the inaugural CONCACAF League competition in 2017, and has won 30 domestic titles since it was founded in 1912.
It’s no small wonder that Novak described it as a dream to be back: the idea that he would be playing against Honduran competition in the CONCACAF League would have seemed far-fetched to him just a couple of years ago. The 25-year-old had almost given up on soccer entirely, and had even filled out forms to join the army. With some resolve, he took one last shot at a career in soccer that eventually led him to Forge FC.
Novak has impressed since, making his own tidy mark on Forge FC history – though he still has quite a few pages left to write. With his fitness now returned, he’s got all the equipment he needs to do it.
Source: Forge FC (via Twitter)
Image Credit: Forge FC