Ally Waddecar is looking forward to pulling on his boots once more this weekend –weather permitting.
The attacking midfielder has been a virtual ever-present for Bamber Bridge over the past few seasons.
But his name has been conspicuous by its absence from the Brig teamsheet in recent months after he suffered a serious knee injury during the 7-0 victory over New Mills in September.
Waddecar was later diagnosed with severely strained knee ligaments by Preston North End physio Matt Jackson.
As someone who has hardly ever injured and has been one of Brig’s most consistent performers, his spell on the sidelines has been felt heavily by manager Neil Crowe.
Happily, Waddecar’s recovery and rehabilitation appears to have gone well and after just under three months out, he is set to take his place in the squad for this weekend’s trip to Droylsden.
The visit to the Bloods cannot come soon enough for Waddecar, although heavy rain may delay his comeback.
“It is my first major injury,” Waddecar said. “I’ve only ever missed odd games through niggles and even then I probably would have been able to play through them.
“It’s not been nice being injured.
“It’s like when you get to the ground on a Saturday, you speak to the lads and then they go off and get ready to play.
“The game starts and you’re just sitting there watching – it’s not the best.”
Waddecar remembers the incident which led to the injury clearly.
At the time, he thought he had broken his leg, such was the pain, but then unbelievably tried to run it off.
He said: “I just went to flick the ball with the outside of my foot and the other lad has come in, it was a 50/50 ball, and my leg’s just given way. I thought I had broken my leg when I did it – there was a sharp pain.
“I went back on the pitch and tried to play on, but I was only on a few minutes – I just did not have the strength to run on it.”
After a few weeks of not knowing the extent of the problem, Waddecar was examined by Jackson, who immediately made the diagnosis at North End’s Springfields training ground.
“It got a little bit better the first week after I did it, but then not much better after that,” the Brig ace revealed.
“I tried to go through the NHS, but it would have taken six weeks to get a scan.
“We thought about going private, but then I went to the North End physio and he diagnosed straight away what it was.
“He gave me a rehabilitation programme and I’d like to thank him – it was very good of him to do that.”
It is unlikely Waddecar will be pitched straight back into the team, but he is ready to play if called upon.
“I think to start with I will be on the bench,” he said. “But if I start I think I will be okay – it’s up to the manager and the assistant Neil Reynolds.”
Brig are currently on a five-game winless run in the NPL First Division North and find themselves 12 points off the play-offs, but Waddecar still believes his men can finish in the top-five at the end of the season.
“We are just struggling a little bit at the moment,” he said. “We are playing well – just not getting the results.
“I still think we can get in the play-offs, we just need to put a run together. Hopefully we can get three points at Droylsden.”