Date:Tuesday June 23 2009
Whilst it may have been "close season" for the majority of the First Team Squad, long-term absentees Akos Buzsaky and Martin Rowlands have spent the summer at the Harlington training ground. They have been joined by injury victims Rowan Vine and Heidar Helguson as the quartet aim to be fit for the start of the 2009/10 season.
Buzz has been into the training ground every day and Hunter thinks that he is on course to join the First Team Squad when they return to pre-season training next week (yes, it is as soon as next week now!)
"He is pretty much ready to join in with the lads next week,"Hunter admitted.
"We`re obviously mindful that we`re not going to push him in too hard. We`ve got all the pre-season to fine tune him.
"But he wanted to be the fittest lad coming back on day one of pre-season. He`s probably not far off that but we will take our time with him, make sure he`s right. But he`s pretty much ready now which is perfect really!" Hunter concluded. To me, it sounds a bit like cooking a turkey!!
In terms of recovery, Buzsaky is about where he should be this far down the line after an anterior cruciate ligament injury. That, coupled with his excellent work rate, has brought Buzz to the stage where he knows he can be fully involved in pre-season from Wednesday week.
Martin Rowlands is about two months` behind Buzsaky in terms of his recovery (from an identical injury, if you remember).
"He`s doing his best to catch him(Buzsaky) daily," Hunted acknowledged.
"He`s going to be joining in some sessions in pre-season. Again, we`re aiming to use pre-season as the final part of his rehab, with the aim to be ready for the first game of the season.
"We had some tests done today," Hunter confessed, when challenged as to how confident he was of his prediction.
"They show he`s at where we think he should be at this stage, which is great! Now it`s all about the next four or six weeks, really - depending on how they go. If there`s no more setbacks then I think he should be there," a confident Hunter added.
Both Rowan Vine and Heidar Helguson, who had also suffered with their own injuries last season but had at least featured for the Rs, have also spent many a summer day down at Harlington instead of Brighton beach!
Both were offered the choice alternative of foregoing their summer hols for the dubious pleasure of putting themselves through extra workouts in the gym. I know which option I`d choose!
"Fair play to them, they`ve been coming in two or three times a week throughout the whole summer to make sure they`re ready. Agyemang`s another one who comes into that category, really.
"So, if we can keep that going over pre-season, all the work we`re doing, we`ll be fine!" Hunter concluded.
Hunter was then asked the all-important question - would a player break down once he`d made it back into the First Team. In fact, would a player suffering such serious injuries as Buzz, Rowly and even Vine have suffered, return to First Team action not just strong - but stronger than before, so that they would not break down at the slightest touch of an opponents studs!
"We do certain tests and we have certain protocols which we follow. We push them to their limits and make sure they`re ok. We pride ourselves that we don`t really have re-injuries with players. Obviously we can`t guarantee that won`t happen. We will try to do everything we can within our powers to make sure that doesn`t happen.
"You can`t ever be 100%. You can never turn round and say that it won`t ever happen, because you can guarantee that at some stage it probably will! We`ll do everything we can to make sure they`re alright," he acknowledged.
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Date:Tuesday June 23 2009
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