GIANTS winger Martin Aspinwall is hoping to be closing in on a Super League return by the end of the month.
The Great Britain Test ace has not played since he suffered a serious injury to his right knee (with the player’s surgery scar prominent in the picture) in the home game against Warrington last July.
At the time, it was feared it could end his playing career at the age of just 26.
But the former Wigan flyer is now back in full training and looking to push for a Super League return in weeks rather than months.
“I know I’m getting nearer now,” said Aspinwall.
“I was given the all-clear from the specialist about two weeks ago to resume full training, and it’s just a case now of tweaking things and getting my match fitness back. I also need to get my timing back.
“The leg feels pretty much fine now, I don’t want to necessarily give it a time scale, but hopefully I’ll be there or thereabouts in three weeks.
“It’s been a long road back – about nine months long to be exact – and it was really tough at the start because you’re not with the lads.
“Once you’re back in training you get the feel for it again and I just can’t wait to get the first game under way. I just can’t wait!”
With Aspinwall and fellow Great Britain winger David Hodgson also sidelined with a serious knee injury, the wing spots have been successfully occupied by Rod Jensen, Shane Elford and England Academy prospect Michael Lawrence.
And the soon-to-return Aspinwall knows he will have his work cut out to regain his starting spot.
“It’s a big challenge for me now, the lads have done really well,” added Aspinwall.
“Hopefully, I can get back in the team, but you’ve got to give them credit because they have been great.
“But, naturally, I’m eager to get back in as soon as possible.
“And at this stage I’m not looking beyond that first game really. There’s always talk about the end of the season and the World Cup in Australia, but that’s in the back of my mind, I just want to concentrate on getting back playing.
“People will have to be patient with me. I probably won’t be playing as well as I was before the injury straight away. It’s going to take me a few weeks to get back into the swing of it.
“That’s all I’m thinking about really, I’m not thinking beyond that.”