Youth team captain Michael Clark ended a three-month spell on the sidelines as he made his return to action in their recent 4-0 victory at Portsmouth.
The second-year scholar had missed a large chunk of the season with a knee injury, but successfully completed 45 minutes in the win and revealed his delight to be back out there.
“It felt really good to be back. It was slow to start off with and I was really nervous before the game, but once I got into it I felt back to my old self and that I could have played the whole 90, but we have to be cautious and take things one step at a time,” said Clark.
“After picking up the injury towards the end of 2015, the defender admitted it was tough to deal with at first. Mentally I struggled quite a lot to start off with. The club doctor recommended me to do some psychology to which I then downloaded an app on my phone and started doing that every night which helped me.”
“I then got over it mentally but physically it was tough. I was getting in at 8am every day which was tough and I felt as though I was keeping fit on the bike for no reason, but in the end it was all worth it,” he explained.
As well as having to maintain his own fitness with a personal training programme, the centre half was forced to watch on as the under-18s finished third in the South East Division.
“I found it really hard to watch at the start especially when the boys were winning and playing really well. It was hard not being involved but then I got used to not being out there and over time I found it easier and more enjoyable to watch,” he remarked.
“Throughout his rehabilitation Clark worked closely with physio Peter Webb and fitness coach Craig Smith, and the defender was full of praise for their efforts in helping get him back to full fitness.
“It was really good working with them both. Pete is really tough and keeps you on your toes.Craig was also really good to work with and I am thankful for the time they have put in,” Clark added.
The 18-year-old was part of the squad that won the Merit League 2 title last season, and following the perfect start to Merit League 1 this time round, is hoping to finish the season with another championship.
“The boys have got off to a brilliant start with three wins on the spin, and now we have to maintain that if we are to go on and win the league. Looking ahead to the end of the season I am hoping to feature in the majority of the remaining reserve team games, train well for the first team and hopefully earn myself a new contract.”