CENTRE-back Adam Lockwood is not feeling as ‘demob happy’ as the majority of his Doncaster Rovers’ team-mates ahead of the club’s last game of the season at Middlesbrough tomorrow.
Instead of looking forward to a well-earned break, after what has been a long and hard season, Lockwood will spend most of the summer break at the club’s training ground working on his rehabilitation following knee surgery at the start of last month.
Lockwood started to suffer problems with the knee after the rearranged home game against Barnsley in late February.
“The knee blew up after that game,” recalled the popular defender.
“I tried to settle it down but every time I tried to do something different it just blew up again, so I was sent for a scan.
“The scan showed up a few things, including a cartilage problem, but they didn’t know the full extent of the injury before the operation.
“They found several things which needed doing and they sorted it out at the time.
“It was obviously disappointing to be told that I’d be out for between four to six months, though they had explained to me before the surgery that there was a chance that it could be a serious operation.
“I’ve just got rid of my crutches - though I’ve got to be careful about how much walking I do - and I’m doing basic exercises to try and strengthen the muscles around the knee.
“I’ll be working on my rehabilitation most days during the summer - though hopefully I’ll be able to fit in a family holiday somewhere.
“I am hoping to be fit for the start of next season, though I am trying not to look too far ahead.
“There are little targets that I’ve got to meet to progress to the next level and that’s what I am concentrating on.”
Prior to the injury, Lockwood had been pleased with how things had been going.
“I missed a lot of last season with two metatarsal injuries, but apart from a broken toe, which I played through with the help of pain-killing injections, I had stayed injury free and had been happy with my form.
“I know people have spoken a lot about how bad the back-four has been affected by injuries, but we’ve had problems throughout the team this year.
“That has certainly contributed to the sort of season we’ve had.
“We’ve not got the biggest of squads and it has been a struggle at times, but the lads kept going and the focus was always on trying to retain what we have built up in recent years.
“We went on some bad runs, and results didn’t go our way, but as a group - and I know it is easy to say now that we are safe - we always felt confident that we’d stay up.”
Despite there being nothing at stake but bragging rights in tomorrow’s final game of the against Middlesbrough, Lockwood says Rovers will be going all out to end the season on a winning note.
“The preparation hasn’t been any different than for any other game this season,” he said. “We want to go up there and give of our best.
“Every professional footballer has got pride in their own performance and the team - especially at this level - and nobody is going to lay down; you have got to earn every point at this level.
“They’ll be on a high after beating Cardiff 3-0 on Monday and, like us, they’ll be wanting to end the season on a high.
“So it should be a good game for the supporters.”