Nov 23 2012 By Jon Batham
Jonathan North Image 3
JONATHAN North admitted the real battle was in his head as he prepared for his first game back after career-threatening injury.
The popular Wealdstone keeper was due to turn out for the reserves in a Capital League game away to Rayners Lane on Wednesday night, less than eight months after he suffered a frightening double fracture of the right leg in a league game at Canvey Island.
A metal rod inserted through the kneecap and down to the ankle has meant while match sharpness is yet to come, all the bones and physical wounds have healed ahead of schedule.
However, North suggests the mental battle ahead could be just as big.
He said: “I don’t know how much of the challenge is now mental.
“I will have to see how I feel about that after my first 50/50 challenge. Certainly the first back-pass or dive at the striker’s feet is going to be tough. I’m looking forward to getting it out of the way.”
It has been a remarkable recovery by the former Watford and Wales youth international, who revealed he has left the bionic bits of himself in place to speed up his return to the game.
Despite a few dark days in the immediate aftermath of the injury, it is a return he was always confident he would make, but says it has been a frustrating journey.
“Initially there were doubts when all the operations were happening, but as soon as I could start doing things and realised there were no complications, then I knew it would come,” North added.
“There were times I did not know when the day would come and I felt I was banging my head against a brick wall in the gym and stuff.”
Impressive performances from current number one Rikki Banks in his absence mean there is another battle ahead for North to regain the first team jersey. But that is one fight the 21-year-old is not concerned about just yet.
He added: “I’m nowhere near 100 per cent, but to have the thought of playing and competing for a place is quality. Banksy has done really well to be fair and I’m not expecting to walk back into the team.
“It is going to take a while yet just to get my sharpness back.”