The 2015-16 football season is five months away but Ashington’s utility player James Taylor wishes it was already here.
The 24-year-old community coach at the Newcastle United Foundation is hoping to be ready for a return to action in August after injuring his knee in the away clash at Newton Aycliffe in mid-January.
It was thought that Ashington born Taylor could face surgery and be sidelined for up to nine months, and what made matters more frustrating was that it was a freak incident that occurred in the last minute of normal time.
Now, however, the ever hopeful Taylor has said the damage appears to be not as bad as first feared.
“The game was gone and we were 3-1 down when it happened,” he said.
“I chased the ball out of frustration and jumped for a tackle that I had no right to go for.
“I ended up winning the ball but my studs got caught behind as I lunged and I ended landing on my knee awkwardly.
“I heard a ‘pop’ and my knee swelled up straight away.
“I went through the normal procedure of seeing the surgeon five days later and then had an MRI scan.”
After receiving the results, a relieved Taylor said: “I have not snapped the cruciate ligament which was first anticipated but have sprained a medial and have a grade one/two on my PCL (posterior cruciate ligament).
“I see the surgeon in four months during which time I will have rehab, but I do not need surgery straight away.
“The surgeon says I have a one in four chance of requiring surgery, but if the rehab goes according to plan and the injury heals alright, then hopefully I could be OK.
“Considering I was fearing the worst, this is good news.”
He continued: “I had originally anticipated being out of action for up to nine months, but if all goes well it will have more than halved the time.
“I will be set a programme and will be doing certain exercises to build up the strength in my legs and knees, particularly my quads, just to protect the injury.
“I feel a lot better and I’m pretty much back to having full movement now.”
Casting an eye towards the beginning of the next campaign, Taylor said: “My aim and motivation would be to get drip-fed back into the team during pre-season whilst looking to do things properly and not rush things.
“I am missing my football and especially with everything which has happened at the club during the past month with Steve Harmison coming in as manager along with Ian Skinner and Lee Anderson, which has just given us all a massive boost going forward.
“As vice-captain of the club, it’s killing me not being able to do my bit on the pitch with the lads, but saying that, I’ve not had a break like this from football since I started at Newcastle at around 12-years-old, so in some ways this comes as a bit of a welcome rest and I can recharge my batteries and look to go again.
“The dressing room is all positive so I’m motivated to get a good rehab, keep my fingers crossed and see what happens.”