Midfielder Arthur Gnahoua picked up a hamstring injury after just 28 minutes into his debut for the club at Vale Park in January, which resulted in him having an operation which, it was feared, could possibly rule him out for the remainder of the season.
We caught up with him this week to get an update on how his recovery is going as he continues to work hard under the direction of the medical staff.
Looking back at the Port Vale game, when he came on at half time to make his first appearance for the club, he said: “I was really pleased to get on in that game because it felt like it could have been a good game for me.
“You never know what can happen in football, but I was running with the ball and I felt my hamstring go. It came out of nowhere really. I don’t really know why it happened, but I was shocked and I knew straight away that I couldn’t carry on.
“I obviously felt some pain, but I thought I could have played on at first. Unfortunately it got worse really quickly so I had to sit down and wait for Dolly to come and take me off the pitch."
“Although it was hurting I didn’t think it was that bad," he commented. "I thought I’d maybe be out for two or three weeks or something like that.
"When I went for the scan they said it had a tear in it, and that was another big shock. As a footballer you want to play as many games as you can, so when you can’t play it does get you down. That was awful news but you just have to keep your head up and keep going.
“It's the first time I've ever had an injury like that so to get it in my first game for a new club was really disappointing, but that’s the way football goes sometimes. You have to deal with the disappointment and get on with working hard to overcome it."
On the advice given once the tear had been identified, he said: "I could have not had an operation and waited for it to heal, but we all felt it was better for me to get the operation done.
"Hopefully that will mean that it heals quicker. I know that doesn't mean I can push it too much too soon, but it should mean that I'll be able to do more as long as I keep to the programme Dolly has set up for me."
Having put in over five weeks of work since he went into the operating theatre, he joked: "If it was up to me I’d probably train today!
"It is feeling mostly pain free, but Dolly is keeping an eye on me and making sure I do all the work I need to do to make sure I don’t get injured again. I know I’ve got to be patient and wait for it to heal properly, but I’ll be back as soon as I can.
“There's no point putting dates to these things because you never know what will happen. When I first had the operation they said I’d probably only be coming back for pre-season, but I think I’ll come back way before that if things keep going as well as they are now.
"I’ve only got until the end of the season when my contract finishes so I want to try and get a few games to hopefully show everyone what I can do."
“It is a test of your mental strength when something like this happens, but I’ve just got to stay strong and keep working hard in the gym to get back as quickly as I can," he concluded. "No player likes to sit in the gym all day and just do weights and things like that, but I know I’ve got to do it even though all I really want to be doing is training and playing with the lads.
“The manager has told me to just keep working hard and hopefully get myself back before the end of the season, so that’s what I’m aiming to do.”
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