Winger disucsses being named in squad to face CardiffGarath McCleary insists he is raring to go after Nigel Adkins revealed the winger will be in the squad for tomorrow night’s Championship clash against Cardiff.
The wideman had been sidelined with a back injury that he sustained at the tail-end of last season, though that did not prevent him from scoring the Royals’ goal of the season against Burnley in May.
But after six months of treatment, and having played in two warm-up matches in the last 10 days, McCleary says that he is eager to get his season underway – starting in the Welsh capital.
“I’m definitely relieved,” he told Readingfc.co.uk. “Being back in-and-amongst training and being out of that physio room, because no injured player wants to be in there, is something that I’ve been counting the days down to. I can’t wait to get started.
“I was expecting to get the all clear when I went for my scan but I was still a bit nervous because obviously you never know 100 per cent. Right at the beginning, I wasn’t expecting to be diagnosed with a fracture, so you never can tell. I was always told to keep optimistic and see my glass as half full rather than empty.
“Some players have got injured for a long time, for the first time, and it is quite hard to deal with. I’ve done same stint, probably about four years ago, when I had knee surgery at Forest. I was out for about six months. I knew how to handle this.
“No one wants to be injured and it is one the hardest things to do. I concentrated on the work in the gym and treatment for my back, which I had to. I walked around in a back brace for a while and the hardest part was probably not being able to pick up my children.
“For the first eight weeks, I was advised to do no heavy lifting. When you have a three-year-old son it is quite hard not to pick him up - especially when he is flying around! I’m thankful that I’ve got through it and I just can’t wait to get started now.”
McCleary got the all clear on Tuesday, November 4th – the same day Reading triumphed against Rotherham at the Madejski – and since then he has been able to increase his involvement with the first team.
The 27-year-old said: “My training load stepped up recently, which was good for me. It’s been enjoyable to be back around the squad and be on the grass. Even something so small like being back on grass makes a big difference to your mentality and confidence.
“I’ve had no trouble at all with my back since. It was good to get some game time in the matches they set up for me and Shaun Cummings. No amount of training will benefit you as much as a game. I’ve spoken to Shaun about it a lot and he’s buzzing to be involved as well.”