INFLUENTIAL Doncaster Rovers midfielder Martin Woods has had an extra spring in his step in and around the club’s Cantley Park training ground this week.
The former Scottish Under-21 international has been back running around the complex after getting the go-ahead to increase his training following a visit to his London-based specialist.
“He just wanted to make sure that my hip was fine and that I was getting no pain,” said Woods.
“It’s just a case of waiting for the fibres, which came away from the hip in my left groin - which I’ve never had any problem with - to heal.”
Woods, who had been due to start his first game since suffering a reaction following close season surgery on his right groin in October, suffered the injury in the warm-up to the club’s FA Cup third-round replay at Wolves last month.
“I felt brilliant - it was probably the best I’d felt for ages,” he recalled, “I just went into a tackle with Jimmy O’Connor and my foot gave way and I slipped.
“I went off and had a word with physio John Dickens and he said that it was up to me. He said that I could start the game and that I’d be able to gauge my own body and know what was going on.
“I said that I could feel it then and that I didn’t want to risk doing any long-term damage. The groin on which I was operated feels brilliant and that is why it has been so annoying.
“Fortunately I was told it was only going to be three or four weeks so now it is near enough all healed up and I’m just getting on with my running and a gradual build-up. ”
Among a number of games that Woods has missed out on was the excellent 3-2 win over Portsmouth at Fratton Park in November.
Pompey pay their first visit to the town in 30 years today with Rovers on course for their first ever double over last season’s FA Cup runners-up.
“I’ve never played against Portsmouth but I’m expecting a tough game against them,” said Woods.
“It’s a game where we are going to have to be on the ball because they came down from the Premier Division last season and they’ve still got a lot of players who have played at the top level.
“I know a couple of their players - I used to play with Liam Lawrence at Sunderland. He’s a good footballer and he’ll be one of their best players.”
Striker Waide Fairhurst has joined League Two side Hereford United on a one-month emergency loan deal.
A product of the club’s youth system, the 21-year-old has made just three appearances in all competitions this season.