For Conor Henderson, the 2011/12 season can probably best be described as frustrating.
The cultured midfielder looked set for a breakthrough campaign when he came off the bench in the first team’s July friendly against Cologne. But within minutes of his arrival at the RheinEnergie Stadion, he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury and was sidelined for eight months.
It was particularly tough on Conor as he had already had a similar setback as a 17-year-old, but he worked tirelessly and made his comeback in the reserves’ 1-0 victory at Newcastle in April. "I felt relief, happiness, everything you could imagine to be playing again. The frustration was gone, it was a very good feeling,” he said afterwards.
Now that his injury problems have been consigned to the past, Conor can look to the future with real optimism as he aims to force his way back into the first-team reckoning.
"I have just had to stay positive and patient. I knew I would get back eventually. I thought there would be some apprehension about playing again - there was with the last - but I felt fearless. There were no worries, I just concentrated on playing. There was no reaction in the knee, no pain at all.”
Just stepping out on to the pitch again must have felt like a minor victory for Conor, but he was one of the reserves' star men in their victory against Newcastle. Always looking for the ball, he delivered a series of beautifully-weighted passes to remind everyone at the Club what they had been missing.
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