CAPTAIN Liam Bridcutt admits the longest lay-off of his career was difficult to comprehend but that Leeds United’s fine form in his absence at least stemmed the pain.
Bridcutt finally returned to first team action when coming on as a 33rd-minute substitute during Tuesday night’s 2-0 win at home to Reading – exactly three months after fracturing a bone in his foot against Blackburn Rovers at Elland Road.
The midfielder has subsequently had to endure the longest spell on the sidelines of his career – a period the 27-year-old admits was hugely frustrating – but United’s brilliant form at least provided some relief.
Bridcutt came through 57 minutes of Tuesday’s clash with Reading without any complications and could now start in Saturday’s home clash with Brentford, with Leeds sat sixth and only three points off third.
“I did come and watch a few games and it was difficult for me and I do find it hard actually watching football when I am injured,” said Bridcutt. “It does frustrate me and probably puts a downer on me. But everyone deals with these kind of situations differently. But I am happy for the lads with the way things have been going and it could not have gone any better.
“In that sense, that has made my injury that little bit easier to deal with – knowing we are doing well and heading in the right direction.”
Reflecting on his three months out, Bridcutt revealed: “This is the longest period I have been out in terms of injury.
“I had ten weeks out with a fractured foot and then an operation on my knee and pulled my calf within that time as well. It was a bit of a tough one.
“In the first month, it was not too bad and I was getting through it quite easily.
“But after a month, you hit a wall and every day becomes a struggle of just getting up knowing you are not going to be playing football straightaway.
“It was frustrating, while pain-wise, you were having to manage it and stuff like that.
“Injuries are one of those things you can’t help. Obviously, the Sunderland situation was difficult and there was a lot of politics and people’s opinions. That is how football goes sometimes.
“It helps when you are mentally strong. With everything I went through at Sunderland, I don’t think there is a lot more I probably could go through, really. But I am past that now and looking forward.”