Grimsby Town hitman Liam Hearn's fitness battle fuelled by Wembley dream
"IT would be such a remarkable feat to rupture your Achilles at the start of the season and then come back to score the winner at Wembley."
That's the dream for Grimsby Town striker Liam Hearn as he continues his comeback from an injury that has kept him on the sidelines since August.
Now less than four weeks from a possible return, the forward admits he has let his mind wander ahead at times during his long, frustrating rehabilitation.
And – with the Mariners in the FA Trophy semi-finals and top of the Conference – Hearn could still be the Town hero this campaign.
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He said: "I've been looking at the fixture list since about November!
"I know exactly what games are coming up. If I can get back in early March, although there aren't a lot of games then, there are some big ones.
"So if I can get myself in good shape, hopefully I can play a part in them.
"It would be a story in itself – to be injured for so long and then get a few games before we go to Wembley, and to score there.
"That would be quite an achievement and such a remarkable feat to rupture your Achilles at the start of the season and then come back to score the winner at Wembley.
"Thoughts like that have kept me going. When I'm in the gym or running and things get tough, I use things like that to keep me motivated.
"We're still a long way away, but it would be great to come back and score some vital goals."
The 27-year-old appreciates the recovery process is far from over, and expects to be gradually eased back into Town's first-team plans.
"When I come back I will have so much energy and enthusiasm because I'm just so hungry to get back out there," he added.
"I'll be so enthusiastic and I'll want to do so well that I could blow-up after 20 minutes – I've got to stay professional.
"Match fitness is so different to training – you can run as much as you want on the training ground but once you get put into a game, it's a different world.
"By then it will have been six to six-and-a-half months out, so I'm guessing that the gaffers are going to want to slowly ease me in.
"At the same time, I'm a naturally fit person and I'm in good shape now, so bring it on!"
LIAM Hearn predicts a tough test this afternoon from his former club – but expects three points for the Mariners.
The centre-forward scored approaching 50 goals for Alfreton during his time with the Derbyshire club, and says Nicky Law's (pictured) men will be a tough nut to crack.
"Alfreton are organised and a good, honest set of lads," he said. "I spent three good years there and still get on with the manager.
"I know that Alfreton will give us a good game, but we've got just that little bit more quality which should see us come out with the three points.
"I'm looking forward to heading down to Blundell Park, seeing a few of the Alfreton lads and having a good catch-up with them.
"But things might be a little awkward this time around – because they're going to lose!"