Leeds United defender Aapo Halme opens up over injury problems
Leeds United defender Aapo Halme has revealed the extent of his injury problems and says he is hoping to make his Whites debut next week for the under-23s side.
Leeds added the highly rated Finnish defender to their ranks in January from HJK Helsinki with the 6ft 4in centre-back signing a four-year contract in West Yorkshire.
The 20-year-old is yet to feature in any capacity for United after picking up a foot injury that has kept him sidelined for nearly 10 months. Halme is now hoping to make his comeback on Monday for the under-23 side as they welcome Queens Park Rangers to Nethermoor Park for their Professional Development League fixture.
After returning to training two weeks ago following a gruelling period of gym work following surgery in London on his foot, Halme told Finnish website Iltaleht: "I've had to overcome the injury and [I've been] able to train a couple of weeks fully now.
"I hope next week I will play the game [against QPR], hopefully. It seems good to be back on the pitch and kick a ball and be with the team especially. I've been outside [the team] because I haven't been involved in games or training.
"All summer I rehabilitated in England mostly. It's not a terrible summer vacation!."
The former Finland under-19 international has spent the last few months working to regain his fitness using the Alter-G machine amid a lot of gym work at Thorp Arch preparing for his return.
Halme though admitted that mentally it had been one of the toughest periods of his young career: "It's all in the mind: can I still play? And when I come back: how will it feel again?. I predict that I am mentally much stronger than before but it's been a difficult time for me."