'A few people said I was done... that added fuel to the fire' - Skuse on injury comeback
- Credit: Steve Waller www.stephenwa
Ipswich Town midfielder Cole Skuse says hearing people write him off provided motivation for his comeback from a long-term injury.
The Blues stalwart, who turns 35 later this month, suffered what he describes as a 'freak' knee injury in training towards the end of pre-season and subsequently underwent surgery.
What was expected to be a minor fix turned out to be something more and, as time went on, many wondered whether they'd see Skuse, who is out of contract in the summer, pull on an Ipswich shirt again.
The determined Bristolian has proved those doubters wrong though, stepping off the bench in the second half of Saturday's 1-0 home win against Plymouth to make his 275th appearance for the club.
"Yes, it's been five months, but I'm feeling really good," said Skuse, speaking to the club website.
"When I first picked up the injury I heard a few people saying 'that's him done at his age' but all that did was add fuel to the fire and give me even more drive."
He continued: "I've never been through a period like that in my career so I enjoyed every minute of the return.
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"It's been a long five months but one thing I certainly want to do is go on record and thank everyone that has helped me come through it.
"The medical staff and everyone involved behind the scenes at the club have been brilliant. I'm absolutely chuffed that they've made it possible for me to get back out on the pitch.
"It was a good game to come into because it was a challenge. We were 1-0 up against a side that played some good football so we had to be on it. I enjoyed getting back into the thick of things and as a collective we saw the game out well."
With Jon Nolan (knee) out for the season and Flynn Downes having picked up a hamstring injury at the weekend, Skuse is now competing for a central midfield place alongside Andre Dozzell, Teddy Bishop, Josh Harrop, Alan Judge, Jack Lankester, Emyr Huws and Armando Dobra.
Skuse is certainly a different type of player to all of the aforementioned and both his experience and reading of the game could bring greater balance to the side over the coming weeks.
New Blues boss Paul Cook has joked that he 'might not have a choice' but to start Skuse soon, heaping praise on the latter's ability and professionalism.
"My support system has been great," added the midfielder.
"My wife and children have been amazing and the lads in the squad have done nothing but give me well wishes and help in any way they can.
"Then there's people like the media team and other people at Portman Road on a matchday as well. Everyone's said how pleased they are to see me back out there and it makes it so worthwhile. It's been a grind but it's so nice to hear people say 'it's good to see you playing'.
"Something else that made it more enjoyable was the fact we won. If I was speaking after a defeat, although I'd be pleased to be playing football again still, the mood might be slightly different!
"It was nice to play under the new gaffer for the first time as well. He's brought a bubbly energy to the place and I'm looking forward to hopefully playing more football under him."