Left back Chris Chantler spoke to us about the frustration of being injured and his targets for next season as he continues to work hard through the quiet summer months.
"It's frustrating because we're obviously into the close season but I still have to come in and work," he said.
"I went away around this time last year, and it is nice to have a summer break, but I don't think I'll get one this time round.”
And the reason for that is a desire to get back to the regular football the popular defender was enjoying prior to his final appearance of the campaign in the 1-0 January home win over Coventry.
"I played pretty much every game before I got injured,” he told us.
“I actually also played a couple of games with the injury because I thought it was getting better. To hear the news that I needed to have surgery was a big blow. All I had in my mind was to play as many games as I could for the rest of the season, so it was very disappointing.”
"I'm an active person so the first couple of months were really hard for me,” he admitted.
“All I could do was sit around and that obviously isn't what I want. I've been able to go in the gym for about eight weeks now so I've been there pretty much every day. That means my body is in great shape but I just want to be running. That’s getting closer and closer and I’m really looking forward to it."
"The past couple of weeks have been strange because the ankle itself has been healing, but the scar picked up an infection,” he continued. “That meant I had to stop doing my work because the more you do on it the longer the scar takes to heal.
“That's the main priority because I’ve been told that if the infection gets worse it could start to eat into the skin and the tissue and that could start to break down the stuff which was done during surgery. I'm doing proprioception and balance work at the moment, to try and get movement back into the ankle, which is proving quite difficult. That's just because I haven't done that much on the ankle because of the little setbacks I've had.”
As far as setbacks go, this is new territory for a player who grabbed his first team opportunity with both hands as soon as it came his way following his November 2011 loan move from Manchester City.
"This is the worst injury I've ever had so it will be interesting to see how I cope with getting back into training,” he admitted.
“I'm naturally quite fit but I've never been in a situation where I haven’t even been able to run a short distance for a three or four month spell. This is definitely going to be a different sort of test for me. I'm trying to keep as fit as I can and I do enjoy going to the gym and swimming, but I’m looking forward to it all getting back to normal.”
"I know a lot of lads with long term injuries really struggle but I think I've coped quite well overall," he said. "The first week or so after the operation wasn’t bad because I didn't really think about how long I was going to be out.
“The second week was really hard because the skin had ripped off and I was in loads of pain, but Dolly [Neil Dalton] was really good with me through that. He told me it would go away within ten days and I knew there was something wrong when I was still in pain after that. I've been managing better since then even if I am a bit moody sometimes.
“My target is still to be back for pre-season,” he insisted. “I'll be disappointed if I'm not fit and I think there’s enough time between now and then for that to happen.
“If I'm not fit for the start of pre-season then it should be very soon after that.”
for part two of this interview.
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