'I thought, if I can take a challenge like that and be fine, I can go into anything. That was an important moment for me'
Andre Dozzell has spoken in depth about his return to fitness and the moment he knew he was over the knee injury that sidelined him for close on a year.
The midfielder sustained a cruciate ligament injury on the opening day of last season and has only just returned to first-team football after a long and challenging recovery.
“Last year was hard, very disappointing for me obviously so it’s good to be training and playing games again,” said Andre in an interview in Saturday’s matchday programme.
“When I first came back I was a bit wary of going in too hard into a tackle but when I played our first game in pre-season at Braintree, I got smashed. I thought, if I can take a challenge like that and be fine, I can go into anything. That was an important moment for me.
“It was frustrating to have to wait to get my chance with the first-team but I can understand the manager [Paul Hurst] looking at it and thinking I’m 18, 19, been out for a year with a knee injury and not wanting me to be put straight back in too soon.
“I said to the manager then that I didn’t really want to play U23s. I’d missed a year and that was a big year in my development so going on loan was something that interested me.
“The manager said they’d look at it but then they had some tests done on my knee and didn’t think it was strong enough to play first-team football. He wanted me to stay at the Club and do strengthening work on my knee and train and play with the U23s.
“That was really frustrating but at the end of the day, you don’t want the injury to come back. I just got my head down and did all my rehab and it’s paid off.”
Saturday’s matchday programme also features Cole Skuse, Kayden Jackson, Jon Nolan, Luke Chambers and Paul Lambert’s first column as Town boss.