Date:Wednesday September 12 2007
Blackburn Rovers midfielder Steven Reid is FINALLY (hopefully!!!) nearing the end of his injury nightmare, and Rovers manager Mark Hughes has backed him to come back stronger than ever.
Reid, who has not played a match for Rovers since August 2006 was firstly sidelined with a back problem, before sustaining an anterior cruciate knee ligament in January 2007 in training when a return looked imminent. Then we moved onto pre-season and he seemed destined to return, only for a hamstring injury to put back this return. However, he COULD be it to be named in the Rovers squad for next weeks UEFA Cup match, fialing that the Premiership match with Portsmouth that follows.
Hughes told the Official Blackburn Rovers Website: "The little niggles are holding him back somewhat but he's going to pick up little niggles after being out for a year, I think he understands that, but he's been looking strong.
"We hope it's not too serious and we hope to get him back soon. He's very, very close and once he does get back he's going to be some physical athlete for us.
"The power is there for everybody to see and the fact that he's been out has enabled him to strengthen in the areas he had weaknesses. And once he gets games under his belt then he's going to be a real player for us.
"He was a huge player for us when we got to sixth last time and if we can get him back sooner rather than later then his introduction to the team will give us a huge boost."
The fact that he has been close to a return on several occasions, only for injuries to strike again has been a bitter pill to swallow (for everyone), but Hughes believes that a lesser man could have found this hard to recover from, but he expects Reidy to come back better than ever.
He added: "He's been close on a couple of occasions. He was probably within a week of getting back into the first team but unfortunately he did his knee injury after the back operation that he had.
"And the hamstring strain that he picked up, he was maybe a couple of days away from his first game back so it's been really frustrating for him, and at times devastating, but he's picked himself up and he's got a smile on his face. He's back working hard and he's trying to get back on that field for us.
"He's shown huge character. It's soul destroying when you're doing your daily work and you're here longer than everybody else.
"You see the players preparing for games and you're not involved so it takes a lot of mental strength and he's shown that.
"And that strength will mean when he comes back he'll be stronger, fitter and more prepared to make an impact."
All we can do is keep our fingers crossed now and HOPE that Reidy can FINNLAY make that long await return VERY SOON.
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Date:Wednesday September 12 2007
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