Sidelined Jordan Roberts has revealed Crawley Town’s other injured players are keeping each other going on the comeback trail as he bids to put his nightmare start to the season behind him.
The attacking midfielder has played just 133 minutes of football this season after picking up an injury in the second game of the campaign.
The 22-year-old injured his toe in their EFL Trophy exit to Wolves back in August after an impressive pre-season showing from the former Inverness Caledonian Thistle man.
His spell on the sidelines rolled into September, but after coming off the bench against Luton, a subsequent scan revealed he had a hairline fracture in a toe.
That has kept him out ever since and while Roberts predicts he is two to three weeks away, he won’t be racing back - despite cutting a frustrated figure in the stands.
Roberts also had an injury-hit season with groin problem in Scotland last year and fears of a repeat are in the back of his mind.
He said: “It’s coming on well. I came out of the Luton game after coming on and it felt quite sore. I knew it wasn’t right and I went to the physio.The next step was more rest and then I had another scan and it went on from there.
“It’s frustrating as it is similar to last year at Inverness. I had a good pre-season there and end to the season when I came back, but missed the majority.
“I am hoping to keep my fitness levels up and just keep working hard in the gym.
“It’ll be two to three weeks until I am back travelling with the team, but the gaffer does not want a situation where I break down again.
“It’s been frustrating and it’s harder at the minute as the team are winning and you want to be involved.
“It’s tough watching games especially if we are at home on a Saturday, with the team doing well, you want to be doing your bit.
“You just have to keep going in the gym and keep your strength up. It’s a mental thing. But with Matt Harrold and Josh (Payne) in there with me, that keeps you strong. You can push each other more and it’s a positive thing.”
Roberts netted three goals in a pre-season where plenty saw him as one of Reds’ stand-out summer signings.
That has only added to the ex-Aldershot players’ frustrations, he said: “After doing well in pre-season that is one of the things which makes it harder.
“You come in at a new club, with a new bunch of players and manager, you come in wanting to do well.
“We did hit the ground running against Wycombe and got the three points and there is excitement around the dressing room.
“Then I pick up an injury and it happens again in the Luton game and I am thinking ‘oh no, it’s happening again like last season’. Hopefully, I will bounce back stronger.”
With the team unbeaten in six on the pitch and already in the play-off places, Roberts faces competition for a spot in the team on his return.
He added: “It’s a good problem to have for the manager. There is competition for places already and even more so when everyone is fit and challenging.
“It’s never easy at any football club, the manager has to pick a team and whether you are on the bench or not in the squad, you have to play a part and come in and do your bit.
“It is going to be tough for me, but I have to work hard and the manager knows what I can do and the fans do now as well. I will look to do my best when I get back fully fit and push on.”