Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Andrew Crofts is confident he will be fit to face his former side in the Championship this season after a long-term lay-off following cruciate knee ligament surgery.
Crofts missed the second half of Brighton’s league campaign last season, which ended in play-off heartache again for the Seagulls, but the combative midfielder is now closing in on return to full fitness.
The 30-year-old had been a key part of Albion’s promotion push prior to suffering the injury against Birmingham in January but the Welsh international’s pending return will be a boost to new boss Sami Hyypia.
Crofts re-joined Brighton in 2012 after a two-year stint at Carrow Road which included a Championship promotion success.
“You take it day-by-day with these injuries, but hopefully I’ll get a couple of games towards the end of pre-season and be available for the opening match of the season,” he said. “I don’t really want to set myself any dates, I just listen to my knee and body and make sure that when I’m ready to join in with the boys I’ll be flying.
“I’ve had a good four and a half months of recovery work and then I had ten days off, went on holiday and had a bit of downtime with the family.
“I’ll now spend the next five or six weeks with the physios and get myself fit, before joining in with the squad a few weeks into their pre-season.”
Crofts’ one-time Brighton and Norwich team-mate Elliott Bennett missed the majority of City’s Premier League relegation battle with the same injury, and Crofts understands what the midfielder will have gone through to get fit.
“The past six months have made me so desperate and hungry to come back. These injuries are tough, but it makes me appreciate playing football so much more and I want to show everyone the sort of form I was hitting last year,” he told Brighton’s official site. “I’ve been sprinting and done a lot of strength work in the gym on my legs so hopefully when I go back we’ll be looking at twisting and turning in the knee and getting it as strong as possible. It can still get a bit stiff and ache sometimes, but it has settled down in the last two months.”