RYAN Woodford hopes to give Horsham FC a big lift in the New Year by returning to action sooner than expected.
The Hornets club captain received the results of a scan on his knee injury on Tuesday which reveal he has a Grade 2 tear of the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL).
While still a serious injury which will take time to heal Woodford is relieved it is not as bad as he first thought and has targeted the end of January for his latest return.
“It’s about what the physio and me thought but it could have been a lot worse,” the 23-year-old said. “It’s obviously a lot better then a Grade 3, which is a complete snap, and the X-ray showed the knee is fine, there’s no major damage around the area.”
Woodford suffered the latest in a string of injuries in the 5-1 defeat against Cray Wanderers at the start of this month with a typically bullish lunge to try and prevent a goal.
It saw him stretched off just five games after returning from a prolapsed disk in his back, which he sustained in only the second game of the season.
The tough-tackling central midfielder has already missed 22 games this term, and having also missed the back end of the last campaign with a broken foot, his first season at the club, his Horsham career has hardly been able to take off.
But being a personal trainer fitness is on his side and the player is confident of returning without any long-term damage to his body.
“I must have done something really wrong somewhere along the line to deserve the luck I’ve had,” he said. “I’ve had a year to write off really, breaking my foot last season, the prolapsed disk and then this straight after coming back and feeling good about my football.
“Of course it’s frustrating not being able to play but it’s just bad luck, and people who know me know I’ll put my body on the line in the way I play so injuries like this are going to happen.
“But I’m only 23 and I’ve still got plenty to give. I’m lucky that I’ve not had any really serious injuries and as a personal trainer I’m a fit guy anyway.
“I’ve just started physio on the knee so I’ll probably be back up and running by the end of January fingers crossed if I don’t have any flare ups.”