Basford United's Ollie Clark ahead of schedule for injury comeback
Basford United’s Ollie Clark says his “progress is good” and “ahead of schedule” as he focuses on his recovery from long-term injury.
The 22-year-old only joined United in January, but a torn ACL and fractured kneecap will rule him out for the majority of the season, which started with a 4-1 friendly win against former side Carlton Town at Greenwich Avenue on Saturday.
Clark said: “Five weeks after my operation and progress is good. I was gutted when I was told, but I’ve got my head around the situation now and I’m ahead of schedule which has got me into a good headspace where I can fully focus on my recovery.
“I’m currently carrying out a strength phase because I have lost a lot of muscle in my right leg, and I am also on the exercise bike four or five times a week which helps with my efforts to get back to full fitness.
“Naturally, the end goal is to get back to playing football with Basford but it’s a long process - physiotherapists will tell you it can take anywhere between 6-9 months recovery. I am around five weeks from running in a straight line at a slow pace, but I know I have to take both time and caution with it.
“Basford, on the whole, have been brilliant with me and they have shown their support since day one and I massively appreciate that,” added Clark.
“The gaffer, Chetts [Steve Chettle], has been amazing – he’s kept me involved and offers his full support. I’ve also done a lot of the work with the physios at the club and that has been a massive help.
“In terms of making a return, most people who know me understand how much I love my football and I hate not playing or being around it. However, my primary focus at the moment is my rehabilitation so I can return to peak fitness and show everyone at Basford what I’m capable of.
Midfielder Clark made 81 appearances for the Millers since breaking into the first team in 2018, scoring 16 goals in the Northern Premier League, First Division South-East before joining United on a two-and-a-half-year deal earlier this year.
The friendly fixture was arranged as part of the deal to bring him to the club.
On the win, manager Chettle said: “I am really pleased with the game on Saturday. We have had some sessions with the group without touching on team shape as we are focusing on our base level fitness - all of the group were here last season and understand how we play and what we expect at Basford.
“We started with our usual 45 minutes for everyone, which included players from our academy system. Some have been involved before and are training with the squad for the start of pre-season, and some were involved with the first team for the first time.
“We mixed the team up in the two halves and there were a lot good outcomes from the game - more importantly they got through the game without any major problems.
“Only Jordan Pierrepont felt his ankle towards the end of the first half, but this gave a chance for Ryan Camm, our Academy goalkeeper, to play in the senior group for the first time,” Chettle added.
“With changing all 11 players at half time, sometimes it takes the new starters some time to get into the flow of the game, but I thought that they all performed well, and we scored three really good goals in the second half.
“We now move on to Long Eaton on Tuesday night and hope to continue gaining fitness and momentum.
“It was great to see our regular supporters at the game on Saturday and hopefully our support will continue to grow, and they enjoy the pre-season games and feel part of our Basford United family.”
United host Long Eaton United in their second pre-season fixture on Tuesday, 13 July (19:30).