Town winger Ben Tomlinson has praised physio Johnny Wilson for helping him on the road to recovery.
Tomlinson came off the bench to score the winner in Halifax’s 2-1 FA Trophy win at Barrow on Saturday - three-and-a-half months after getting injured at Sutton.
It was feared Tomlinson would miss the rest of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, but subsequent scans showed his knee injury was not as severe as first thought.
He has been aided in his recovery by Wilson, a physio who worked with Town boss Jamie Fullarton when he was the manager of Notts County in 2016.
In May last year, Notts County, with Wilson at its head, were named the best sports science and medicine department in League Two at the FMA awards.
Tomlinson said his winner at Barrow made all his hard work in getting back to fitness worthwhile.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” he said.
“Big shout out to my new best mate Johnny Wilson, who did all my physio with me.
“A massive thank you to him. I can’t thank him enough, he worked really hard.
“I totally believe I wouldn’t have come back so quickly without him. I wouldn’t have played at Barrow and I wouldn’t have scored that winner.
“When I was getting better I’d go to Nottingham to see him.
“Everything I did with him was methodical, everything was thought out, everything had a process - you had to certain things for so many days before my programme moved on.
“He kept me to a tight schedule to try and get me back as soon as possible. That’s what the best physios can do, as long as they work you hard enough without working you too hard.”
Tomlinson admitted his comeback from injury couldn’t have gone any better last Saturday.
“It was absolutely Baltic out there! It was freezing cold!” he said of last Saturday’s game at Barrow.
“But I was delighted to score. I just about had enough energy to lift my arm up!
“On a personal level, it’s great to be back, and get a winner. It’s perfect, you can’t ask for much more than that.
“Do I deserve it? Yeah I do, because I’ve been working really hard since I’ve had my operation.
“It’s been a tough time for me. I’ve been working hard off-the-pitch but nobody gets to see that. Everything’s judged on what you do on a Saturday or a Tuesday night.”
Tomlinson’s winner at Barrow comes after what he says has been among the hardest times of his career.
“One of yeah. Mentally as well, it was an absolute rollercoaster,” he said.
“i was thinking I’d done an ACL and I could be out for a year, and then after my operation I was sat for two hours after I’d been told I hadn’t had an operation waiting to find out why.
“But now I’m just trying to get back. It doesn’t stop now, I’ve still got loads of rehab to do.
Tomlinson has timed his comeback well, with Town facing a hectic Christmas period, but is wary of doing too much, too soon after his prolonged absence.
He added: “It’s something I’ve got to monitor. I’ve been out for around 15 weeks, so I can’t go straight back into playing 90 minutes week-in, week-out, although I want to get back to that as soon as possible.
“The first thing you don’t want after a knee injury is falling on it straight away, which is what happened to me!
“I looked down at my knee and saw my kneecap was bruised and thought ‘oh for god sake!’
“When you’ve been out for a long period of time you’ve got to look after yourself and keep working hard to make sure there’s no recurrence or nothing else flares up.
“But it’s nice to be back for the busy Christmas period.”