Crawley Town defender Joe McNerney has revealed his long return from his injury nightmare was “quite depressing.”
On Saturday he scored Reds’ equalising goal in their 1-1 draw at home to Barnet.
However he has told how tough it was making the long comeback from injury to become part of Dermot Drummy’s unbeaten team.
The former Woking centre back was given his big opportunity by former Reds boss Mark Yates last season to show he has what it takes to succeed in League 2.
But after impressing in the first few games he piacked up an injury which took the rest of the season to fully recover from, and he had to overcome some demoralising setbacks on the way.
McNerney suffered a miserable season, playing in the first five games, then out until October when he played twice and was then out of action again until March when he played in the last six matches, making a poor season’s total of just 13 appearances.
He said: “It was a massive disappointment last year. I got that break and it went the complete wrong way.
“I felt I started fairly well last year - I’d never had a serious injury before and for it to drop off like that the way it did was quite depressing at times.
“Everyone gets injuries and that’s part of football. The injury I had was difficult - they couldn’t diagnose what I had.
“So I began the rehab process, it still hurt, so I had to go back to the drawing board, find out what it was and had the operation.”
He had a bone spur on patella (knee cap) which was pinching his tendon.
“Once they found out what it was it was quite straight forward.
“I was in great hands - fair play to Crawley they sent me to some great people.
“You have to trust the rehab and now it feels great.”
However gaining full fitness was not enough, he then had to prove to the new manager he was good enough to fit into his plans.
McNerney, 24, said: “We’ve got a very distinct style of play which the manager wants. “The manager who signed me - (Mark Yates) had gone so I had to prove myself to the new manager (Dermot Drummy). It was a big test.
“I’m one of the few left from last year and was not necessarily his choice.
“I’ve had to step up and prove to him I’m worth a place in this team.
“My target this year was just to be in the team. The manager has brought in his own centre-halves and it was a case of whether or not he wanted me to be in the team.
“It’s not necessarily done and dusted yet but I think we have surprised a few people.
“We are fighting together as a team and I think that will do wonders for us.
“We haven’t really got our passsing football game going yet because the teams we’ve played have made it very difficult for us.
“Dermot’s very big on team spirit, and if everyone keeps on fighting we’ll do well.”
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