SAM Ricketts said some Wanderers players were ill with worry last week.

The defender admits it was difficult to contemplate playing football in the first few days after Fabrice Muamba’s collapse at White Hart Lane nine days ago.

But the sense of relief at their team-mate’s ongoing recovery had been enough to get minds focused on Saturday’s game against Blackburn.

“From very early on last Saturday, until maybe Tuesday or Wednesday, the lads weren’t sleeping,” he said.

“We were worried for Fab. There were a few lads who, when they were asleep, had flashbacks to some of the things that they had seen at White Hart Lane.

“It wasn’t until we knew Fab was doing so well that you can start to erase those memories and start thinking of the happy ones again.

“It’s been such an emotional drain and what it can do to your body being so low and then coming out to such a high, a couple of the lads have been ill coming into this game with relief that Fab was better again.

“On a personal note, knowing how well he was doing gave me a boost. We couldn’t wait for the game to come so we could show our support for Fab.”

Ricketts paid tribute to the fans for creating such an incredible atmosphere at the Reebok.

Now, the Welshman admits the challenge is to take the Whites’ gutsy performance in victory over Blackburn into tomorrow night’s emotional return to Tottenham in the FA Cup quarter-final.

“With the fantastic progress Fab is making we have got to use that as another opportunity to produce another performance to get back to Wembley,” he said.

“It would be fantastic if we can get back to Wembley and he can come back with us.

“Fab is so highly thought of at this club, from the players, the chairman, the fans to the tea lady.

“We are such a close knit-club, a proper old-school family club, and Fab is so highly regarded. He has been in our thoughts all week, every team talk and every mention of today’s game, he’s been mentioned.”