SHABIR Khan says he always believed he would play again for Worcester City after completing his comeback from a career-threatening knee injury.
The 26-year-old defender’s inclusion for last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Bradford Park Avenue was the first time he had pulled on the blue and white of City in a competitive fixture since August 23, 2010.
He then followed that up by playing the full 90 minutes of Monday’s 2-0 victory over Bishop’s Stortford at St George’s Lane.
It’s a remarkable turnaround for a player who has endured more than his fair share of long-term injuries, and testament to his desire to bounce back.
Born and bred in the city and with the club since a teenager, Shabir needed surgery to repair anterior cruciate ligament damage and subsequently underwent months of rehabilitation.
As is often the case, his recovery took place away from the public gaze and there were times it seemed like he had disappeared off the City radar.
An attempt at kick-starting his career at Stourport Swifts 12 months ago didn’t work — too much, too soon by his own admission — and it has taken another year in the gym to get to this point.
But he appears in good shape and ready to make up for lost time as City bid to challenge in Blue Square Bet North.
“I have always felt like I would get it sorted. I just wasn’t sure how long it would be but there was never any doubt in my mind, I just wanted to get back in training,” Shabir said.
“When I went to Stourport I maybe pushed myself too much so I had to step back and concentrate on strengthening the knee. By the end of that I felt very confident going back to pre-season that the knee would easily get through it.
“I have had no reaction from the knee. I have been doing my own stuff outside of Worcester but nothing as intense as pre-season. The first couple of weeks were a big test for it and now I am getting through the games fine.
“I had one or two people saying that they didn’t think they’d see me at Worcester again but that’s never been the case in my mind, even if it meant sitting in the stands or on the bench and working my way back into the squad.
“I have been at Worcester from such a young age, it’s pretty much all I have known to do so it was quite easy for me to keep pushing myself because I have done it for a long time.”
He continued: “Mentally, it’s never really affected me but that’s probably been down to the fact I have had a number of injuries in the past, although not as severe.
“The only thing now is to keep on with my match fitness. I am not 100 per cent there yet but after getting through 90 minutes on Monday I am really happy.
“It’s great to not only be back playing at Worcester but in a squad that is very promising. They are a good bunch of lads and we get on really well.”