Incoming Halifax prop Andy Bracek expects to be back in full training inside five weeks after undergoing knee surgery.
The 25 year old Wales international - who will effectively replace the retiring Jim Gannon in Fax’s 2013 line up - went under the knife last week to fix the cartilage damage that kept him out of the Raiders’ charge to the Championship One Grand Final.
“I had the op last Monday, it was just a bit of a clean out and I should be right for full training in five weeks,” said Bracek.
“I’ve started in the gym again this week, but I won’t be running hard on it for another three or four.
“We start training on November 5, so I’ll probably have a couple of lighter weeks but that won’t be a problem by the time we start playing.”
But Bracek, a member of the Barrow side that beat Fax in the 2009 Championship Grand Final, revealed he had feared a nightmare scenario when the injury first occured.
“You always think the worst and I thought I’d done my cruciate ligament; it was only when I saw the scans with my own eyes that I was convinced it was okay,” said the former St Helens and Warrington forward, who missed most of 2011 with a similar injury.
“I was panicking, because the last time it ruined my life; professionally and financially.
“I was on a good wage at Barrow, I’d bought a house and being young and stupid I thought I was going to be making that kind of money for the next 10 years. I’d been speaking to Huddersfield about going there at the end of the 2010 season and then I got injured in pretty much the last game of the year.
“I went from being on good money to labouring for my brother and being pretty much crushed financially for the best part of 12 months.
“I was lucky that the Crusaders picked me up when they didn’t really have to, gave me a pay as you play deal and got me on my feet again.
“Clubs get a bit shy around you after an injury like that though and I ended up back at Barrow for this year, as much because it was convenient for me as anything else.
“The knee was fine until the last month; I missed a game with a broken hand but that was it.
“Fortunately, people don’t forget what you can do and Karl (Harrison) has obviously seen something he likes.
“I just want to repay him now and have a good year with Halifax.”