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INTERVIEW: Great to be involved

10 October 2013

Chris Chantler on his return to training

We spoke to Chris Chantler following his return to first team training at the end of last week.

"It feels great to be involved again," he admitted. "It's been a long time so it was a bit of a relief to get my first session out of the way. I trained with the youth team at the beginning last week so getting involved with the first team again is a big milestone for me."

"It has been really frustrating," he admitted. "When I got told I had to have another operation my head was all over the place. I was sat at home and watching cartoons, and humming the songs from them, while I knew the lads were playing games and training and all sorts. I found it really difficult not being able to go to them gym every day like I used to because I'm such an active guy. It really is impossible for me to do nothing." 

"The second operation didn't work which made things feel even worse for me," he continued. "It meant I had to have another one a couple of weeks later. I didn't get any stitches in the third time and thankfully it finally healed properly. 

"It did take a little bit longer but it meant that it didn't get infected again, which was the main thing. The infection was really restricting my movement so as soon as it had cleared up my ankle felt a lot better."

"We try not to set timescales but I am ahead of where we thought I'd be after the second and third operations," he revealed. "Obviously if the first operation had gone well I was hoping to be back for pre-season ... but that didn't happen. The only good thing about the setbacks I had was that it wasn't actually to do with the original injury. I didn't try to run and then feel my ankle go again, or anything like that, because it was all down to the infections." 

"There was talk about me not being back until the new year after the third operation so I am ahead of schedule," he told us. "If I'm honest, though, I'm very impatient and I had hoped to be back in training by this point of the season.

"The little steps I've made throughout my rehab have been good but, as I've just said, I'm massively impatient. When Dolly [Neil Dalton] and Kate [Gascoigne] tell me I can do something, I always want to do more. 

"That means they've had to hold me back and I get moody when that happens. However, if I did do too much I'd end up feeling really stiff the next day. I've had to really trust their judgement when I didn't really want to, but now I'm at the final stages of my rehab I can see they were right. I'm probably not the best patient they've ever had in the sense that I just wanted to do everything and be fit again as quickly as possible."

"Being back around the dressing room is a big boost for my morale," he insisted. "It is difficult to watch the lads go out to training every day only to have to go the other way and into the gym on your own. I do need to get a lot of match sharpness back and the best way to do that is to train. I'm playing in the Rangers game on Thursday and my ankle feels great at the moment. We'll just have to see where it goes from there."

"It was really tough to watch the first few games and not be able to help the team," he admitted. "Nobody likes to miss out but I think it feels even worse when it's down to an injury. We were losing games and I think it's only natural to feel like you could make a difference, but I couldn't do anything about it. 

"The results obviously led to the manager leaving. The last time I played for him was back in January so I wasn't even able to do anything to help him keep his job. I really did find that to be difficult. It was a strange day when he left. Greg came in and told us what was happening, which must have been tough, then we had the uncertainty of who was going to replace him.

"Greg is the one who gave me the chance to come to Carlisle and he put a lot of faith in me by picking me for the majority of the games I was available for. I did ring him a couple of days after he left so I could thank him for everything he's done for me. The fact is that I owe him a lot." 

"I think Kav has done really well and he deserves the job," he said. "He obviously already knows what we're like as players but I think we all have to continue to prove ourselves every day. You can't rest on your laurels regarding what you've done in the past, whoever the manager is, and as a person I wouldn't do that anyway. I think you have to prove yourself every day and hopefully I can start showing Kav, Davie [Irons] and Caigy [Tony Caig] what I'm all about again." 

"Results are an important factor in the feeling around the club," he told us. "Everyone is a lot happier and everything seems better because we've started winning games. It's tough to be in a dressing room when the team isn't winning because everyone is down and there isn't much confidence. 

"I think people can become scared to do things they wouldn't think twice about if we were winning and you could see that there was fear and tension among the players on the pitch. As soon as you get a few wins everything starts flowing again and you can see the confidence coming back. It's a much better atmosphere to be around."

"Playing football on a Saturday again is going to be massive for me," he admitted. "Instead of sitting in the stand or watching the scores on the TV I'll be involved again. That's what every single player wants. It will be great when I'm back and involved."

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