DEFENDER Luke Potter is desperate to put his Barnsley injury nightmare behind him as he guns to become a first team regular at Oakwell.
Academy graduate Potter has had a staggering five knee operations during the past two seasons and feared his career might never get back on track.
But the versatile 22-year-old left/centre back has worked relentlessly to get himself match fit and has just been loaned out to Alfreton Town to get some matches under his belt.
Potter made his debut for the Blue Square Bet Premier League outfit on Saturday in a 3-2 away defeat to Mansfield Town at Field Mill.
Ahead 2-0 at half-time the visitors were reduced to nine men and Potter was given a baptism of fire in his first senior game for over a year.
“It didn’t help playing 40 minutes with nine men, but I enjoyed it. It was good to get back, I’ve been out for a really long time,” Potter told The Star.
“It’s been so frustrating for me being out for so long, but hopefully this is the end of my problems.
“There’s been swelling on my knee recently which stopped my original move to Alfreton, but I’m glad I’m there now and I have the opportunity to play.”
Potter made his Reds’ debut in 2007 against West Brom, but his injuries have halted his progress and the Barnsley-born youngster has been limited to loan opportunities with Stafford Rangers and Kettering Town.
But now Potter is hoping a successful spell at Alfreton will help him challenge fellow left-backs Jimmy McNulty and Jay McEveley for a regular starting berth, although he does prefer to play at centre-back. “I just want to get as fit as I can and then try and force my way back into the side,” revealed Potter. “We’ve not got a reserve team at the club, so playing for Alfreton was my first game in over a year.
“The Barnsley lads have been great with me and have kept encouraging me. I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, I’ve just got to impress the new manager and hope I can be in his plans.
“Keith Hill’s been great with me.We’ll take this loan move game by game and see what happens.”