AS the full back who marked Cristiano Ronaldo on his Manchester United debut, one might expect that Nicky Hunt has had his fair share of scary experiences in football.
But the Accrington defender admits that waking up in an ambulance in Plymouth two weeks ago, after being knocked unconscious during only his third appearance for the Reds, was a terrifying moment he is unlikely to forget.
Hunt has no memory of the actual incident, a collision with Plymouth Argyle’s Ronan Murray, and hopes to put it behind him as he bids to return to action in tomorrow’s home game against Southend.
“It was incredibly scary,” he recalled of his night spent in hospital. “I woke up in the back of the ambulance and I was literally just going into the hospital.
“Then I was having all these scans done, CT scans, MRI scans, not knowing what had actually happened, trying to remember things in that short space of time.
“You try to remember as much as you can but it’s just not there, it’s just an absolute block in my brain, it’s weird.
“But I’m fighting fit now. It’s good news, everyone was concerned and I’ve got to say thank you to everyone for their concern.
“Hopefully I’ll be back on the pitch tomorrow and we can get a win.”
Accrington are in 20th place in League Two ahead of the game with Southend, who they defeated on the opening day of the season.
Now two points outside the relegation zone, it has been a tough start for Hunt, whose loan deal from Rotherham has been extended until the end of the season.
But the 29-year-old is used to such baptisms of fire, after facing Ronaldo when he made his Premier League debut for Bolton in 2003. The Portuguese star was making his debut, too, after arriving from Sporting.
“That was an experience,” Hunt said. “It was at Old Trafford, we got beat 4-0 and he came on as a sub.
“They’d just bought him for £7m or £8m or something daft like that, but now he is one of the most expensive players in the world.
“It was a privilege to play against him, I played against him a few times but that was a day I’ll always remember.
“It was good for me in a way because one of his first touches I put him on the deck, so he quickly went over to the other wing and caused havoc over there!”
Hunt hopes to pass on his Premier League experiences to Stanley’s youngsters, having played alongside the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha and Youri Djorkaeff at Bolton.
“It was tremendous for me as such a young lad, looking up to players who had played in World Cup finals, Champions League finals,” he said.
“A few of the lads here ask about certain players and it’s good to tell them because they’re interested.
“They’re world renowned players so it’s good to pass information on to them, and possibly it will help them in their career.”