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Nisbet hopes to maximise rest of career after regaining fitness following heart operation

Slough Town defender Mark Nisbet hopes to maximise what’s left of the rest of his playing career after finally putting a heart problem that’s blighted the past couple of seasons firmly behind him.

Nisbet, who is pushing for a return to the Slough Town line up, underwent an ablation in both September and October to correct an irregular heart rhythm that has been preventing him from playing football.

It’s been a challenging 12 months for Nisbet. Earlier this year he and the rest of the Maidenhead United ‘Magpies in the Community’ coaching team were placed on furlough after the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent lockdown, led to the cancellation of in-school, after-school and holiday coaching sessions. While visibly healthy, Nisbet was also diagnosed with an irregular heart rhythm last year after getting palpitations that brought on faintness and dizzy spells while training for the Rebels.

The latest heart procedure means he can now put all that behind him and look forward to getting the most from his body in the remaining years of his career. He feels as fit as ever and hopes to be given the opportunity to help Slough Town push for a play-off finish again this season.

“Operation wise everything went well,” he said. “Everything was corrected at the beginning of October, so the heart is fine. Now, it’s just about getting back to full fitness.

“I was lucky enough to play a few games for Beaconsfield and have also played for the u23s, so I’ve got four 90 minutes under my belt and I’ve also been training hard to get myself back in the squad as soon as possible. The negative of this second lockdown is that I could have maybe done with one or two more games.

“But I’m feeling good, I’m feeling sharp and it’s the best I’ve felt in more than a year. The boys (Slough Town) are doing okay, but I’ve declared myself fit and ready to go.

“I’ve been speaking with the managers Bakes and Unders (Neil Baker and Jon Underwood) and I don’t want to waste another two or three weeks of not playing because of lockdown, or because I’m not match sharp in their eyes. I need to be playing and the only way I’m going to get that sharpness is through playing. I’m currently matching the stats on the runs I’m doing from five years ago, so hopefully I can play as many games as possible this season. I want to help Slough into the play-offs, and we’ll see what happens for next year.”

Just over a year ago Nisbet had a procedure to ‘zap’ his heart back into its regular rhythm. While initially successful, his heart relapsed after a couple of months and he was forced back onto the side-lines. It means he’s only played 11 competitive games in 12 months and it’s left him someway short of where he, and his managers, would like him to be to compete for a first team start.

Last month he had an ablation which finally got to the root of the problem and he should never be bothered by heart fluttering again.

“The first time I had a cardioversion, which is where they zap the heart,” he said. “It’s a less risky operation but there’s also less chance of it being successful. That lasted a month or so, but the rhythm went back out again. This time I’ve had an ablation which is a bigger operation and they go up into your heart through the groin and burn away the flutter in the heart. They tried it in September and it didn’t work. I was under for about three hours, but they just couldn’t get to the spot. But when they did it in October, it was done inside 25 minutes.

“When I came around, they said they got to it easily this time and It’s been sorted which is great news.

“They’ve said there’s no reason why it should happen again. The heart should be fine going forward.”

Nisbet had the second operation on the Thursday and was back running again on the Saturday. He’d also been able to train throughout September so is close to getting up to full speed.

Now he just needs a few more matches to get his sharpness, however, it seems the management team are reluctant to push him too hard, too soon.

“There was no recovery time with this latest one,” he said. “I had the operation on the Thursday and by the Saturday I was running again. I’ve been training fully since September and have played four games as well, so I feel fit, sharp and ready to go.

“But I’ve only played 11 games since last year, so I just need to get my minutes back up and that will help with the timing of my headers and tackles, my reading of the game. It’s just those last little bits to tick off.

“The play-offs is the ambition. But, with the current climate and what is going on with the virus, furlough, budget cuts, it’s going to be a challenge. We lost Wellsy (George Wells) to Maidenhead. He was one of the first names on the team sheet. That was a big loss for us.

“But we’ve replaced him with some good signings. Our ambition this year is the play-offs and we feel like we have a strong enough team. We’ve done ok. We’re in a better position than where we were at this stage last year and I don’t think we’ve gelled or clicked just yet. We’ve still got another level to step up to. The performance on Saturday, against a very good Maidstone team, was pretty good and, with a couple more games I think we’ll be there.”

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