AFTER spending as much time in the treatment room as he has on the pitch for Oxford United in the last two years, Andy Whing is treading carefully in a bid to finally end his injury troubles.
The 29-year-old began light jogging this week as he recovers from surgery this summer.
It was the second major operation on his groin in less than a year and after several false dawns in the past, Whing is cautious about looking too far ahead.
He said: “I’m probably stronger than I’ve ever been before, but I’m working really hard to do that.
“I just want to be injury-free and not feeling any pain, which I probably haven’t done the last two years.”
Having a head coach who knows all about serious injuries has helped.
Michael Appleton’s career was cut short by a knee injury and Whing is grateful to be given as much time as he needs to fully recover.
“The gaffer has been brilliant, the pressure’s been taken off and it’s a case of ‘I know how you’ve been, so get yourself right and whenever that comes it will be great to welcome you back’,” he said.
“It’s a case of missing the early part of the season and make sure I can play six or seven months, which would be perfect.”
That has not always been the case for Whing, who has suffered relapses returning early.
The latest problem began last November at Field Mill, where United return tomorrow.
In hindsight, Whing admits an injury was bound to happen as he volunteered to play with the pain.
He said: “At AFC Wimbledon away last season I couldn’t do the side-stepping with the lads, I could only run in a straight line – and this is in the warm-up.
“Somehow I got through the game, we won 2-0, but when you look back, it was inevitable I was going to break down at some point.
Andy Whing after picking up an injury at Mansfield Town last season
“That happened (at Mansfield) a couple of weeks later.
“It’s probably got me down the last couple of years where constantly I’m waking up on a Sunday, Monday and Tuesday morning and I’m sore.
“You go again on Saturday and the same results keep happening where it’s not getting better, but you keep playing because it’s what you want.
“Now I’ve had this my hunger is the highest it’s been for quite a while now and I’m more than determined to get back right.”
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704.
Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.