Mansfield Town are pleased to announce that winger, Matty Blair, has signed a new contract at the club following his long-term injury lay-off.
The ex-Fleetwood Town man made just three appearances for the Stags last season before succumbing to a cruciate knee ligament injury against Carlisle United in January.
Blair has worked hard to regain his fitness over the last seven months and has now signed an incentive-based contract for the coming season.
The wing man is pleased with his rehab, and is now looking forward to getting involved with the first-team squad again: “It’s been a good process, obviously the injury was shocking at the time but the rehab so far has gone as well as I think it could’ve gone. So now it’s just the last month or so when hopefully I’ll be back in full swing.”
Remembering how his injury occurred, Blair thought he had ‘got away with it’ as after his knee was put back into place, he felt no pain.
“[We played] Carlisle away, [it was the] 65th minute or something and I jumped over a slide tackle and then all of a sudden, the twist and the landing at the same time popped my knee.
“It was unfortunate because it can happen to anyone, then it’s just the rehab now, getting back through it and working hard to get as strong as possible.
“I think the hard bit is getting in your head that, potentially, you’re going to be out for nine months. I was coming to a new club, wanting to help out and that’s the difficult bit.”
Part of Blair’s rehab has taken place at St George’s Park, the FA’s National Football Centre, and the ex-York City man is pleased with how he has progressed.
“Once I had the operation it was just teaching this new ligament how to work. It was literally like being a kid again and learning how to walk. I’ve had a lot of advice but I’ve always worked hard to get back to where I am now.
“I’ve had to keep myself quite calm about it. I’m pretty bad when it comes to looking after myself but I’ve kept myself grounded as much as I can and now we’re just getting to that final stage. This is the important part now where I can’t go too far, too fast.
“The next couple of weeks will be frustrating. I got involved in my first training session last week, I got involved in my first passing drill yesterday and everything is feeling good so ill be thinking ‘why can’t I get involved with the five-a-side?’ but I know I can’t because it’s contact stuff, so I just need to keep ticking boxes.”
After getting a taste of playing for the Stags last season, Blair is looking forward to pulling on the amber and blue again in the near future.
“It will be a big day for me. It’ll be one of those moments in life where you won’t forget it. After being out [injured] for seven months, to come back and even if it’s just three minutes at the end [of a game] to waste some time for us to win a game it’ll be a decent way to come back.”
Although this Saturday’s game against Blair’s former club, York City, is too early for his return, the winger will be supporting his team-mates from the stands.
“I’m going up to the game and I’ll see some people that I haven’t seen for a while and support the lads. The main priority now is winning for Mansfield so hopefully we’ll get the three points.
“It’s an old-fashioned ground, the fans are ‘on top of you’ and you’ve got to be on your game for the full 90 minutes," he added.
To hear more from Matty Blair, log on to Stags Player.