Grimsby Town's Liam Hearn upbeat as recovery begins
LIAM Hearn is refusing to set a date for his return from injury – but insists "there's light at the end of the tunnel."
The Grimsby Town hitman ruptured his Achilles in training last month and his left leg remains in plaster as the long road to recovery continues.
Following an operation, the 27-year-old is having to watch from the stands as the Mariners continue their campaign.
And while last season's top scorer admits to being frustrated, the prospect of playing again after Christmas is driving him on.
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"The recovery is going really well," he told the Telegraph.
"I went to see the surgeon last week. He had a look at the scar and tested my flexibility.
"He asked me to do some light resistance stretching and I passed all his tests, so he seemed really pleased.
"My cast is keeping my foot straighter than it was, and he has given me a special trainer-boot to help me put weight on it.
"It stays like that for another two weeks and hopefully will complete that part of the healing process.
"Then I will be able to get my boot on and start my light stretching and soft tissue massaging – I can begin my rehab for real then."
New loan signing Ross Hannah joins Greg Pearson, Andy Cook, Anthony Elding and Dayle Southwell in the battle for a Town striking berth.
But, after hitting 29 goals in all competitions last season, Hearn's absence remains a concern for Mariners fans.
The former Alfreton Town forward added: "I've been talking to a few fans when I'm out and about, and they've been asking when I'm back. It's still a long way off and I don't want to start giving people dates and then have to disappoint them by delaying it.
"I don't want to rush it because it's a serious injury, but I'm definitely hoping to play some part this season.
"I've been having a bit of banter with the Town lads, saying if they get into the play-offs hopefully I can come back in time to steal the headlines!"
Hearn believes his recent return to the gym and a strict diet can hasten his return.
"Now that I know my rehab will begin soon I'm keeping myself in good shape.
"Then, when I come back I won't need to work too much on fitness, more just my rehab – I won't have to fight two battles then, just one.
"It's been massively frustrating. You prepare yourself all pre-season for the start of the campaign, you do everything to get your body right and mentally prepare – then this happens.
"When you find out you're not going to be playing until at least after Christmas it's a huge shock to the system.
"But I've tried to take positives out of it – not that there's many – and I feel good to be honest.
"It's made me hungry and given me a fresh outlook, and when I come back I know I'm going to be so hungry to get back into it.
"I've missed football so much and I can't wait to get back."
He continued: "It's so frustrating watching our games because I see things in the match that I would have done differently.
"It makes me want to get out there even more and it's given me a belief that there's light at the end of the tunnel."