HALIFAX threequarter Lee Paterson believes he is on course for an ahead-of-schedule comeback after major knee surgery.
Paterson underwent reconstructive surgery in the autumn after rupturing his cruciate ligament, an operation that can take up to nine months to recover from.
But after joining his teammates for the first training session under new boss Karl Harrison at the Shay last night, the former Swinton and Rochdale back - the top points scorer outside Super League in 2010 - hinted he could yet be ready to play when the new season kicks off in February.
“I went to see the specialist last week and the range of movement I have at the moment is what he would normally expect to see another three or four weeks down the line, so it’s going well,” said Paterson.
“I’ve never had such a serious injury before, so I’ve nothing to compare things with; I’m just plodding along, doing a little bit every day in the gym and following the programme that the physios have set me to the letter.
“I’m doing straight line running already, although it’s going to be a little while before I can start changing direction, and I can do all the usual fitness work in the gym.
“The only thing I’m going to miss out on in the next few weeks is the field work and the wrestling, really.
“They said six to nine months before I could play again, and at the moment everyone tells me it is looking a lot closer to six, which would be pretty near to the start of the season.”
Paterson admitted the arrival of Harrison - plus an all-new backroom staff and 15 new players - had changed the dynamic at the Shay after six seasons working under the regimes of Martin Hall and Matt Calland.
“I think it’s a clean slate for everyone, everyone is starting from scratch and everyone is going to have to prove themselves,” said Paterson.
“I’d only met Karl face to face once before last night, but I think it’s a case of what you see is what you get.
“When there’s work to be done, he’s serious about it.
“There are a lot of new faces but I think most of the players who have played in the Championship know each other to some extent.
“It’s a whole new team and I’m excited to have a chance to be part of it.”