Jack Redshaw has got some lost time to make up for.
The 28-year-old striker made his first appearance since April 21, 2018 when he came off the bench in Halifax’s 4-2 defeat to Torquay at The Shay on Saturday.
”It was unbelievable,” he said of his return to action. “A bit strange getting ready for a game actually!
”I was saying to the boys it felt unusual getting ready to go and play a game.
”It was a great feeling to get on. I got about half-an-hour, which was a bit of a bonus.
”I just want to crack on and play games now.”
Prior to his Town debut, Redshaw had been plagued by injury set-backs that deprived him of a whole season of his career.
”My injury at Salford was misdiagnosed for a while,” he said, “they thought it was a groin tear at first and then I ended up having a knee operation, and then I found out I needed hip surgery.
”It was a nightmare that it got left for so long, but I got there in the end, and I’m finally coming back from it now.
”It got left untreated for a long time. I only had the surgery in April.
”It’s not nice being injured. Mentally it is tough, you feel like you’re not part of the team, you’re just stuck in the gym, stuck in the treatment room.
“I felt more like a bodybuilder than a football to be honest!
”When you come out of the other side, like I have now, you feel mentally so much stronger.
”You’ve just got to take the positives and forget about it.”
Redshaw started at Manchester City, signing as a professional, before dropping down the league with Rochdale.
”We’d filter in and out of the training sessions with the first-team,” said Redshaw of his time at City, “they’d be on the next pitch.
”Then the takeover happened and you’d see all these big names flying in, like Robinho and Adebayor.
”It was interesting to be around, but you felt a million miles away from ever getting a chance.
”It’s a different world, everything’s done for you, everything you need is there. You literally just have to put your boots on and go and play or train.
”Then I joined Rochdale in League One, and it was a bit of a shock to be honest.
”Then you realise that’s what football is and not like what it is at the top. It did massively take my by surprise.
”I’d never been out on loan so I only knew what I had at City.”
He spent three-and-a-half seasons at Morecambe before joining Blackpool, where he stayed for two seasons, including a loan spell back at Rochdale.
He then joined Salford, staying there for two seasons, the first of which saw him score 17 league goals as The Ammies won the National League North.
Redshaw reckons his best football so far came at Morecambe, which earned him a move to Blackpool.
”When I signed for Blackpool I was struggling,” he said. “We did a lot of pre-season on the beach, on the sand dunes, and I ended up getting really bad shin splints.
”I played with it for the whole of my first season. Then I had six or seven weeks off that summer and I thought it would have gone, but it flared up again first training session back.
”It was a bit of a nightmare, I ended up missing the whole of the second season at Blackpool.
”I had to have surgery on both shins.”
Redshaw says he likes to “get on the ball, get on the half-turn and drive at players”.
He said there were other clubs interested in him before he joined The Shaymen.
”Because I’ve missed a lot of time everybody was asking to see me for a week to prove I was fit,” he said.
”I played a friendly for Halifax the week before, and spoke to the gaffer, and he said he wanted to sign me. I was made up.”
Was he worried about when and where he would come back after his injury?
”In football you’re easily forgotten about when you’re injured, especially a full season,” he said.
”The good thing is, being a striker, you only need a few goals and people get talking again.
”It’s harder if you’re a centre-back and you’re not in the action as much, but as a striker, if you can nick three or four goals everyone knows who you are again.”
But Redshaw is optimistic he is coming back the same player he was before his injury nightmare.
”I’m confident I’ll get back to being the same player,” he added. “I’m still not 100 per cent match-fit because I’ve not played the games to get that fitness.
”That will come and then hopefully you’ll see the best of me.
”I’m looking forward to getting back playing, and hopefully scoring goals.
”When you’re not playing you don’t feel like a footballer.
”You lose interest in going to watch because all the boys are buzzing, getting ready for the game, hyped up, and you’re sat there in the stands sulking.
”You just want to be part of it. When you know you’re going to be out for a long time, it’s difficult.
”Hopefully I’ll be playing games every Saturday now.”