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Close delighted to make long-awaited return for Rovers

21 September 2022

Club News

Close delighted to make long-awaited return for Rovers

21 September 2022

Ben Close struggled to remove the smile from his face after making his long-awaited return to action for Rovers in the Papa John’s Trophy win at Lincoln City.

The midfielder played the first half of the 2-1 win - his first match minutes since November last year - as part of his recovery from a knee injury.

And he was delighted to take his first step back towards regular game time.

On his return to action:

“It felt great. It’s been a long time coming, a long time out.

“It’s been a tough few months so to be out there with the boys, playing football again is a great feeling.

“To get through 45 is great and hopefully it will stand me in good stead going forward.

“It’s going to take a few games to get back to where I want to be but I really enjoyed it.

“I enjoyed the team performance. I thought we defended well in the first half and had a good shape. It’s not easy where you’re in with lads that you’ve not played with much in the past and lads that haven’t played a huge amount this season.

“It’s about building relationships with the lads that are here and getting to know them.

“For me, it’s about using the next few weeks to get back to where I want to be.”

On the last 11 months for him personally:

“It’s been incredibly tough. It was a strange injury and at first we didn’t really know how to deal with it. We tried different things and in the end we went for an operation so we wasted a bit of time in the early days.

“There were a few setbacks after the op. It’s taken a while and when you don’t play for that long, your body loses that robustness and fitness.

“Tonight was a great feeling and hopefully that’s going to put me in good stead for the next few weeks.”

On it being the right time to return:

“There’s a fine line. You don’t want to be training for too long and not having that confidence in your body but you don’t want to rush it either.

“There are important games coming up and when you get injuries you need other lads to step up.

“I felt good. I’d had a good week of training and I was just happy to get that 45.”

On how the game played out:

“After Lincoln scored I saw a really good side to us. We kept it tight for the next few minutes and slowly built confidence.

“We pushed forward, passed it well and looked like we could score three or four goals in that last 30 minutes.

“I felt we held a really good shape in the first half and worked hard. To go a goal down is a difficult circumstance so the response was really pleasing.”

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