IAN Evatt has shaken off his ‘freak’ foot injury and claims he’s fitter than ever.
The Blackpool defender has missed the last three games with a swollen foot after a knock in the opening game of the season at Millwall.
A specialist has given him the all-clear and he was back in full training this morning at the club’s Squires Gate training ground.
And Evatt can’t wait to get back in the side. He said: “It’s been slow progress but I’m finally getting there with my fitness.
“It was a weird injury really – I kicked the bottom of someone’s studs and it burst some blood vessels in my foot.
“It swelled up like a bit of an elephant foot, but finally I’ve got control of it now. It’s good to be back training with the boys.
“I went to see a specialist, who assured me there was nothing major wrong with my foot and it was just a bit of a freak incident.”
The 30-year-old was only expected to be out for a matter of days and was less than impressed when boss Ian Holloway declared him unfit to face Leeds three weeks ago.
But in hindsight, Evatt admits it was the right decision. “At first I thought I was fine to play as I wasn’t getting any pain, just lots of swelling,” he said.
“Once the swelling went down I started to get more and more pain.
“It was only a few burst blood vessels and a bit of a bruise, but it’s taken a few weeks to settle down. Hopefully now I’ll be back to normal.”
As well as celebrating the birth of twins, Evatt spent the summer working alone on his fitness. And he claims to be in better shape than ever.
Evatt revealed: “I lost about seven kilos this summer, which is a lot.
“I had a good end to last season but I felt the older I get the fitter I have to be.
“It was about time I got myself in really good condition and this summer I worked really hard.
“I reaped the benefits of that at Millwall and felt great.”
Evatt has been a regular feature at the heart of Pool’s defence since arriving from QPR in 2006. And despite being out of the side the opening day, he thinks Pool are far more important.
“It’s not great to have missed out but that’s football really,” he said.
“I feel really fit and really sharp, and it was a shame the injury set me back a little.
“I’m chomping at the bit to get back in the team. I’m still as fit as I was in the summer.
“I got off to a good start, but that’s football and I ended up picking up a minor injury that’s kept me out.
“But the bigger picture is us getting promoted. As long as the boys are flying, which they have been, I have no problem at all with missing games.”
Having played over 200 games for the Seasiders, Evatt is a pretty good judge of the state of the squad.
Boss Holloway recently claimed that Alex Baptiste was ‘unmoveable’ in Pool’s back four, and that Evatt and Craig Cathcart would have to fight for the other place in central defence. Evatt claims that is good for the team, adding: “It’s excellent that we have competition in all areas, not just at centre-half.
“It’s very important we have a strong squad as it really brings the best out of everyone.
“In previous years, certain players knew they would play every week and that’s not the case now.
“No-one will take anything for granted now – not one player in the squad.
“We have players all over the park who have proved they can go in and do a good job.”