INJURED Fleetwood Town player Anthony Barry is fighting to keep his spirits up but admits he has no idea when he will next lace up his boots.
The midfielder has not played since August last year as his recovery from major knee surgery proves painfully so.
When The Gazette last spoke to the 26-year-old on the eve of the season, he was optimstic of a quick return after an intense summer rehabilitation programme at Lilleshall.
But two months on, his training is still restricted to gym work and the Liverpudlian is struggling to stay positive.
Barry told The Gazette: “I’m just trying to make steady progress but it’s slow going. I have started running but it’s a battle.
“All I can do is keep on taking it step by step and hope there are no setbacks, but no-one really knows how it is going to develop.
“I’m definitely not setting any new targets. I’ve made too many and there’s no point making any more.”
The former Yeovil and Chester man made over 50 appearances for Town in 2010-11 only to be struck down on the opening day of last season.
Barry added: “I’m only just starting to realise how big the operation was. It was a very big procedure and the complications made it unique.
“Certainly there was nothing black and white about how soon I would be able to play again. There were a lot of grey areas.
“I’m missing the contact with the lads. I’m training on my own in the gym but all I can do is keep plugging away.
“Everyone at the club has been fantastic. They have kept on playing my wages for so long without getting anything in return.”
Barry can depend on the best wishes of everyone at Highbury, not least mananger Micky Mellon, who said: “Anthony has to be patient and not put timelines on it. He is up and down, which is understandable, and we just hope he gets a break.
“We always knew it was a serious injury and that he was going to be out for a long time, but he’s a gutsy lad and he will get back as soon as he possibly can.”
Town’s impressive start to life in the Football League has helped lift Barry’s spirits but he isn’t surprised to see the club among the League Two pace-setters.
He added: “The team have made a good start but everyone expected that. If anything, we thought we’d be a little higher because those are the standards we set oursleves.
“But we’ll settle for the position we’re in and we’re determined to kick on from here.”