SCOTT Wharton is targeting a summer return to football, after more than a year out with injury.
The 24-year-old damaged his knee on 10th February 2011, in an innocuous challenge during Worksop Town’s home game against FC Halifax Town.
Right-back Wharton has since undergone two operations on his ACL, and told the Guardian that he hopes to be fit for a return to the game for the start of pre-season.
“It was a year ago on Friday,” he said. “When I was in the air I felt just a little nudge, the kind of thing that happens all the time, but when I landed I went one way and my knee went the other.”
“I felt it go, something inside, and I thought I might have just dislocated it and felt it pop back in.”
“But it was a lot worse than that.”
The ACL on his right knee was so badly damaged that Wharton is still restricted in the movements he can do, but his rehabilitation will soon move to the next stage.
He explained: “I can do anything in a straight line.”
“By the end of February I should be able to do side to side movements.”
“I can work my legs at the gym and it feels fine, I feel strong.”
“They told me as long as I do the rehab properly, I will probably be able to come back in May – although this season will have finished, so I’ll be looking at pre-season.”
The Chesterfield native signed for Tigers in the 2009/10 season, while Peter Rinkcavage’s side were playing at Ilkeston.
He then featured heavily in Martin McIntosh’s starting 11 at Cannon Park last season, before the injury ruled him out for last season and the current campaign.
Although he told the Guardian that no one from the club had contacted him since his second operation, he is keen to add to his 21 appearances for the club – and new Tigers boss Simon Clark has confirmed he is aware of Wharton and monitoring the situation.
Wharton, who turned 24 on Saturday, revealed: “I would be interested in coming back to Worksop.
“I’ve got to take it as it comes with the rehab, but at the moment it’s going well.”
Missing a season and a half has been a miserable experience for the defender, and he isn’t one to sit on the sidelines watching.
“It would do my head in watching every week and not being able to play,” he said.
“I went to see Worksop when they played Matlock because I know half of the Matlock team as well, but I’ve just been visiting my girlfriend on Saturdays.”
“I’ve missed football, but it’s just one of those things. I’ve just got to get on with it.”