Liam Lawrence is counting down the days until 2012 as he admitted: I can’t wait to see the back of this year.
The Blues skipper has endured a miserable run of injuries in 2011, but is hopeful there could be a late flourish to December as he targets a comeback in Sunday’s south coast derby clash with Southampton.
While it would be a huge risk for boss Michael Appleton to throw him into the starting line-up after an absence of five matches, Lawrence would certainly add experience and quality to the substitutes’ bench.
The 30-year-old would love to be involved against the old enemy, but is more concerned at regaining his form and fitness after Christmas following his dreadful run of luck.
He said: ‘It’s been unbelievable. Since January, it’s just been a nightmare.
‘I’ve never had injuries like this in my career and they are just stupid things.
‘We’re coming up to the new year and I’ll be glad to see the back of this one.
‘Hopefully, it will be a fresh start for me because I was just starting to get my fitness and my form back and then this latest injury happened.’
Lawrence returned to training last Friday and joined the rest of the Blues team in warming up on the pitch ahead of Saturday’s 1-0 win at Burnley.
With a full week’s training behind him, he should be included in the squad for the Sunday lunchtime showdown.
But while he previously had ongoing problems with a calf strain in the second half of last season, his latest injury was simply down to an unlucky landing as he contested an aerial challenge against Crystal Palace.
He said: ‘This one was quite a bad roll of the ankle. When I did it, the scans showed it was a bad one.
‘I went up for a header, the lad put me off balance and as I came down I went right over on it.
‘One of the ligaments has gone and the other two are severely stretched.
‘At least I didn’t have to have an operation, but I’ve had all sorts of injections and steroids into it.
‘It’s just been so frustrating because I’ve had a nightmare run of injuries.
‘It’s kept me out for six weeks and it will be like pre-season again for me now coming back.’
Lawrence has yet to turn out for the new manager but has sometimes struggled after rushing back from previous problems.
While Appleton is determined to make sure his skipper has fully recovered this time, Lawrence is keen to impress.
He said: ‘It’s just up to me to get myself back and in contention and then get my form back as quickly as possible.
‘We’ve picked up some decent results and I’m sure we can go on a run like we did last season.’