Just like that, there was one last Christmas present under the tree as Sam Barratt made a surprise return to EFL League One action.
Campbell, who was installed as boss at the struggling League One side, said in post match comments to the clubs official twitter account following a 1-1 draw at AFC Wimbledon: “It’s nice for him to get on. He’s been out for a very long time, but it was only because Whitey was ill so we drafted him in [at late notice], but that’s what you’ve got to do.”
Barratt wasn’t initially in the match day squad having been on a long road to recovery after suffering an injury in training following his debut in August 2018.
The Southend Echo’s Chris Phillips spoke to Campbell who said: “John (White) wasn’t feeling too well. It had been a couple of days and he had been feeling rough so he couldn’t really play. We had to make a decision and change it again.”
Barratt’s 89th minute introduction at Kingsmeadow for Jason Demetriou coincided with the Shrimpers equaliser which followed in injury time after Charlie Kelman earned and converted a 91st minute penalty following Callum Reilly’s 23rd minute opener.
Campbell added: “Sam’s been out for a very long time and he would probably feel he can only do about 10 minutes at the moment. That happened because John dropped out. We had to call him up and get him over. Luckily it was a southern based game. We had to get on the blower and get him in.”
Writing on twitter after his appearance, Sam said: “Crazy circumstances, but who cares how it happen. After 16 months injured, over a year of hard work, it felt unreal to be back in the squad and get back on the pitch with the shirt on, the hard work continues.”