Motherwell’s exciting striker Lee Erwin is hoping for two things to happen between now and the end of the season. The 19-year-old is hoping to shake off a knee injury to finally take the field amongst a group of players that he has grown up watching and he is also hoping that Arbroath can turn things around and see off relegation from League 1.
Erwin had two loan spells with the Gayfield side earlier this season and his reputation was growing as he regularly found the net. He returned to Fir Park hoping that his newly acquired first team experience would see him don claret and amber in Stuart McCall’s first team only for injury to strike.
The front-man had to go for surgery before he could be promoted to Premiership action however he is closing in on making his debut for the Fir Park side.
Erwin said: “It is going well and I started running again last week which is two weeks ahead of schedule. The operation was to repair some damage to cartilage in my knee and it could hardly have happened at a worse time for me.”
“I had been out on loan at Arbroath and done well scoring 8 times and I returned to Motherwell looking to make the first team. I was playing in my first game back in an under-20 Youth Cup tie against Hearts when I was injured.
The striker’s progress was only delayed as he explained: “I have spent a lot of time in the gym and I should be back kicking a ball really soon. There after it is a case of getting some games in the under-20’s and then hopefully making the first team before the season is out.”
“Last season my other knee had a problem so I am looking to put both those injuries behind me and get my first team career at Motherwell going.”
It is easy to understand Erwin’s frustrations as, despite his young age, he has been waiting a long time to pull on a claret and amber top as he explained: “I have been at the Club for nearly 8 years, in fact I joined them before I went to High School. I am a local boy and live just 5 minutes away in Holytown so I have wanted to play for Motherwell for a long time.”
“It would be pretty accurate to say I have come all the way through their youth programme and it will be great to finally get on the pitch and play for them. It is all I have wanted to do for a long time, in fact from since I was at primary school.”
“It will be great to play with the likes of Stephen McManus, Keith Lasley, Stevie Hammell and James McFadden. I have watched them for years and it would be great to finally play with them in a first team game.”
The spell at the Red Lichties simply whetted Erwin’s appetite for the first team as he explained: “It was my first loan spell and when the chance was offered to me it was an easy decision to make to go to Arbroath. I wanted the experience of playing first team football and although discussions only started on the Friday, I played for them on the Saturday.”
“It was a pretty decent debut as I scored in a derby game against Brechin, in fact I scored them both as we won 2-1.”
“I really enjoyed my spell there although I was not quite sure what I was letting myself in for footballing wise when I decided to move to League 1. However the standard is really good and Arbroath are a really good footballing side.”
“People will tell you that it is just huge lumps up the park for you to chase but that was not my experience. They played football on the ground and I benefitted from that.”
Erwin would train with Arbroath on a Wednesday night and spent the rest of his week training with Motherwell and during his 11 games he showed that he could take chances.
“I scored a fairly decent goal at Stenhousemuir however the winner against Brechin on my debut remains my favourite goal so far,” said Erwin.
In his absence Paul Sheerin’s side have slipped down the table and presently sit in relegation trouble and Erwin said: “I am disappointed to see Arbroath where they are now at the bottom of League 1. I actually thought they would push on and challenge for a place in the promotion Play-Offs in the second half of the season but it has not happened for them.”
“I am hoping that they can string a few results together and move up a few places in the table. I still speak to some of the boys there and they are disappointed with where they are. “
Erwin added: “They are a good club and I hope they do not get relegated.”
The name Erwin may ring a bell with football fans of a certain vintage and Erwin explained the connection saying: “My dad had a long career in football starting off at Airdrie and then playing for a long time at Stenhousemuir. He also played for Alloa and East Stirling. He was and remains a big influence on me.”
“He keeps me right on most things and he was always coming to watch me but of course he has not had the chance recently.”
Rather than stay at home Erwin Senior has got himself involved in football again as Erwin Junior explained: “He was bored when I was not playing so he has started helping out at Bellshill Juniors. Robert Downs is in charge there and he was a player for my dad when he was the assistant manager at Pollok a few years ago.”
“He is enjoying that but I am sure he wants to come and see me play for Motherwell if I get the chance.”
That chance will hopefully come before the end of the season with Erwin saying: “The plan is to get back playing for the under-20’s in a couple of weeks and then get into the first team after that. It would be great to make my debut before the season is out.”