As winger Nicky Adams continues to step up his rehabilitation programme, with regular sessions on the club’s training pitch, he revealed this week that links through club physio Neil Dalton had led to outside help through the early phases of his recovery.

“As I’ve said before, Dolly and Lee Fearn have been class for me and they’ve done everything I’ve needed or wanted,” he said. “Fair play to Dolly because he got me in with the best surgeon there is. I take my hat off to all of them.

“We’ve had some great help from others as well. Dolly knows John Lucas down at Bolton University, and he’s somebody I also know really well as well. As soon as they spoke I was told to go straight down there and John had me using the Alter G and the strength machines for my legs.

“It’s been superb for me. A lot of lads at this level possibly won’t get access to facilities like that, and I can only thank him and Bolton for letting me use it all.

“That’s the same with Wigan. Their physio, Nick Meace, is a good friend of mine and their manager Paul Cook was also brilliant. He cleared it for me to use their facilities and I suppose being able to go to different places on different days broke things up in a positive way for me, rather than seeing the same faces in the same places all the time.”

As for how things are progressing, he told us: “I saw the surgeon last month and he looked at the knee and thought I was closer to six months, because it was coming along so well.

“At the time it was closer to three months, so he was quite surprised but also really happy with how well it was going. I think it’s because we’re made of tough stuff in Bolton! Even with the thumbs up from him, we still didn’t rush it.

“Dolly actually held me back a week, I probably could have gone out seven days earlier, but we wanted to make sure every box was ticked. It was another occasion where I listened to the medical people, because they know what’s best and they do have to rein me in a bit sometimes, but that’s just natural.

“I only take a few things seriously in my life and football is one of them. It was the same when my dad was ill last year, it really hit me hard, thankfully my dad is doing really well now. That’s why I want to get this right.

“Dolly has said over and over that this injury is nowhere near as bad as it used to be, it’s just a long process. Your knee is fine after about three months, but you’ve still got another four months of building your leg back up to make sure everything is stable, otherwise you’ll get problems.

“I was speaking to Lids [Gary Liddle] the other day and he was saying he was quite impressed with how I’ve handled it, because he thought I would go off the rails a little bit. Look, in my life I probably don’t take about 97% of it seriously enough, I just try and enjoy it.

“The bits I do take seriously are my family, my football and my friends. Everything else is just a laugh, I just enjoy life and, whatever comes my way, I always try and put a positive spin on it. My football is my life, I don’t know anything else.”

So, if the chance comes to dust off the boots before the end of this season, will he be making a return?

“I think everyone who knows me will know that if the gaffer asked me to put my boots on tomorrow and play, he knows what the answer would be,” he commented. “But, if I did that, I just wouldn’t be doing myself, the team or the club any justice at all.

“Basically I just can’t see the point of taking any risks. Don’t get me wrong, if we get to Wembley in the play-offs I’ll be doing star jumps in front of the gaffer to show that I’m ready! Seriously though, if someone asks me to do something I try my best to do it, but on the flip side of that I’ve got to be sensible.”

“I’ve always had it in my head that I want to be ready for pre-season and that hasn’t changed,” he confirmed. “The surgeon knows I’m ahead but he’s happy that I have that as my target. Is there any point in me rushing it? I don’t think I can afford to.

“All I want is to be playing football, I don’t know anything else, so I want to make sure I’m right and I’m the old me. July has always been the target and, as I say, that won’t change. Dolly keeps saying how happy he is that I’m ahead, but he follows that up with a reminder that we should never risk getting too far ahead of ourselves.

“The last thing I want is for people to be saying I look a bit sluggish or not how I used to be just for the sake of rushing things. People know what I can do from the 18 months before I got injured and I don’t want to be remembered as someone who didn’t get back to that.

“My target is July because I know with a pre-season under my belt I’ll be at full tilt again. I know what the end-game is and I know what I need to do to make it happen. It feels like I’ve got something to prove again and I don’t want to put that in jeopardy.

“I’ve got unfinished business, I’ve still got that desire inside and I won’t have someone tell me that I might not be the same when I come back. Doubt motivates me and if people say I can’t do something I tend to hit it head on. I won’t be beaten easily so I’m just looking forward to every new challenge now.”

As for filling his time away from the gruelling rehab regime, he said: “I’m doing my coaching at the moment, which has been good.

“Lee Dykes has given me things to do in terms of watching and analysing opposition games. I’ve enjoyed that, looking at the way other teams play. I’ve watched so many games at non-league, Championship, League One and League Two. I’ve tried to watch as much football as I can because I love it.

“People say it’s my job, but I don’t think of it like that, it was my first love and what I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. When I finish football I want to do something in football because I don’t know anything else and I can’t do anything else.”

“While I’ve had this time off it’s been good to do the other side of things and see how other teams play,” he added. “I watched Bury play Oldham the other week, which was a big game for both teams because of where they are in the league. I know both managers really well and I know they both like to play football, but it was a must-win game and the football went out of the window, it was all about the result.

“That’s how it is towards the end of the season and I think the gaffer has done it really well here. We aren’t playing unbelievable football but we’re getting results which have put us right back in the mix.

“Last year I think that was one of our weaknesses, we didn’t dog it out. People were saying we were playing great football, but we didn’t dig results out. I think you’ve got to take your hat off to Clint [Hill] and Lids [Gary Liddle] this season, they’ve probably been two of our best players and we’re dogging it out. If we’d had that last year it might have been different.”

And as the interview drew to a close it was back to the training regime with his ‘personal training staff’ waiting in the wings to out him through his paces once more.

“I feel great at the moment, and I actually feel a lot stronger than I was before,” he insisted. “It’s weird, I’ve tried to stay away from doing lots of upper body stuff because, with the way I play, I need to be sharp.

“My legs definitely feel stronger. Lee [Fearn] and Dolly have given me good programmes to do in the gym and I’ve just been getting on with them. It’s ironic because I hate the gym.

“Lee has had me for four-and-a-half months now, but it’s taken him 18 months of me being here to get me in the gym. He loves me now because he knows I have to go in there. Well, I say he loves me, but we’re on the grass, which is back to my world, so I’m sure he’ll be sick of me again in no time.”

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