As other players take a few weeks of their off-season to kick back and relax attacking midfielder Brennan Dickenson can be found here at Brunton Park for some part of most days, working hard with physio Ross Goodwin as he continues his rehab from a nasty knee injury picked up at Stevenage at the end of March.
Dickenson, 28, admitted this week that he’s glad to see the back of the 20/21 campaign, having missed out until he made his first appearance for the club at Walsall in January, when a pre-season hamstring problem (which required surgery) had left him confined to the treatment room for a prolonged period of time.
Talking this week about what has been a tough year on a personal level, he told us: “It’s been a frustrating period for me, but it’s football and you have to get on with it.
“Obviously with the season done, I’m in working when the other lads are off, but it’s about being ready for next season as far as I’m concerned so it’s just how it is.
“I haven’t really had time to get home or relax because I’ve been in with Ross [Goodwin] and Greg [Short] but it’s part and parcel of being injured. There’s work to be done, but I will get some time off to relax then I’ll come back fighting for pre-season.
“I know it’s what I need to do to make sure I’m ready for pre-season. I got my head around it very quickly and it is what it is.”
“I’ve obviously had two major injuries this year that have kept me out for most of the season, which has been frustrating,” he continued. “I can’t look back now, I’ve just got to focus on pre-season and on fighting for my place in the team next year.
“The injuries happened, I wish they hadn’t, but we analysed both of them and we got to the point where we knew, especially with the Stevenage one, that there isn’t a lot anyone could have done about it. Unfortunately it’s just one of those seasons where it’s been complete bad luck.
“The only way to prevent the Stevenage one is if I stop fighting for the ball, and I’m pretty sure the staff and the fans don’t want that. That’s just not who I am as a player. I’ll fight for everything in every game if I feel there’s something to gain by doing it.
“It’s just unfortunate that when we were tussling in the corner the lad landed on top of my knee. If I hadn’t planted my left leg and just fallen over it probably wouldn’t have happened. It’s down to those tiny details and small margins, but it happened and there’s nothing I can do about it now.”
As with any situation like this, support for the player in question plays an important part in smoothing the road to recovery.
“The support I’ve received from the manager, players and all the club staff has really helped,” he confirmed. “They’ve been a big help in keeping my spirits up. You have jokes and a laugh with everyone around the place and it does keep you going.
“It’s very easy to get into a slump and let the negative thoughts creep in. Everyone has good days and bad days, so I do come in sometimes feeling a little bit down. On those days the boys are so energetic and lively, and it automatically cheers you up.
“The fans have been great with me as well, so I know they know what I can do. I just need to show them more of it. I think a bit of me wanting to get back so much is proving to myself that I can still do it and that I can get through these injuries. I just need a good season next year.
“I really felt like it was coming together last season, to be fair, but the Stevenage game is typical of the luck I’ve had. We had a bit of a joke about how long you [the media team] had to wait to use my goal gif, and how we weren’t going to do an interview until I’d scored, then I go and score my first goal but get injured in the same game.
“You couldn’t write it, it’s one of those things you just have to laugh about now, but it was crazy. Like I say, it’s been and gone and it’s about getting on with it again now.”
We’ll have more on the official website from Brennan Dickenson on Sunday when he talks about what he wants from next season.
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