Jamie Murphy has revealed the secret behind his resurgent form, writes James Shield.
The Sheffield United winger, who was on target during last weekend’s FA Cup success over Cambridge United, told The Star that regular Pilates sessions are responsible for propelling him back into manager Nigel Clough’s plans.
Murphy blamed a series of niggling injuries on his chequered form since completing a £100,000 transfer from Motherwell 11 months ago.
But, following impressive cameos against League One leaders Leyton Orient and Richard Money’s side, the 24-year-old predicted it will not be long before he is firing on all cylinders.
“I feel in good shape and that’s thanks to lots of hard work that’s been going on behind the scenes,” Murphy said. “Together with a few of the other lads I’ve been doing a pretty intensive ‘pre-hab’ routine before training.
“We do quite a few things and Pilates is one of those. I think it’s really helped.”
“Ever since I came here it’s been pretty ‘stop start, stop start’ because of injury,” he added. “Nothing serious, just little annoying ones like bumps and strains, stuff like that.
“I haven’t shown my best since joining us but, hopefully, staying injury free and getting into a rhythm means it won’t be long before I do.”
Pilates, a system designed to improve flexibility, muscle strength and endurance, are a regular feature on many top-flight footballers’ preparation programmes ahead of important fixtures.
Clough, who lauded Murphy’s contribution at the Abbey Stadium after replacing the injured Stephen McGinn, could reward his exploits with a starting role when promotion chasing Swindon Town visit Bramall Lane on Saturday
Having seen Jose Baxter lay the foundations for a result which stretched United’s unbeaten run to four games, Murphy’s clinical finish ensured it was the South Yorkshire club which sealed an intriguing third round tie with Aston Villa.
“It was great to go through for a number of different reasons,” Murphy said. “It’s an important competition and we want to do well in every single game because it helps to keep the momentum going and improves belief.
“There is really no such thing as a ‘bad’ game to win.”