Sam Byram says he is craving an extended run in Leeds United’s starting line-up after coming out the other side of a six-month injury fight.
The 20-year-old right-back believes the hip problem which almost consigned him to surgery in August is fully healed and said improved match fitness was “all I need” following a long spell of careful treatment.
United’s existing player of the year has been restricted to a handful of Championship appearances this season by an injury he suffered in April but the club’s concerted attempt to avoid sending him for an operation appears to have paid off, with Byram back in the fold.
A minor thigh strain suffered at Huddersfield Town in October briefly halted his comeback but Byram made his first start for six weeks against Watford on Saturday and is hoping that manager Brian McDermott will stick with him at Doncaster Rovers this weekend.
Byram said: “There’s no pain in my hip at all anymore and I’m confident that I’m completely over it now.
“There’s only (19) games gone so far so I’ve got loads of football to get stuck into this season. It’s been a hard time and I still need to improve my match fitness but to get a good run now would be brilliant.”
While Byram’s injury problems have eased, United were hit on Tuesday by the news that a serious knee injury has ruled on-loan Nottingham Forest striker Dexter Blackstock out for the rest of the season.
Byram said: “He’s a terrific guy. I was really impressed with what he had to offer.
“For a big lad he’s really good on the ball and in training he scored some great goals.
“He’ll be massively missed but we’ve got a good squad and other strikers. That’s part and parcel of having a squad – so others can come in and do a job.”