It’s probably fair to say that not every player enjoys pre-season training, but one man who has been counting down to the start of the hard work is Joe Dudgeon.
Having seen his 2012/13 season virtually written off after undergoing knee surgery last October, the former Manchester United youngster has endured a frustrating time but the long road to recovery is almost at an end.
An intensive and successful programme of rehabilitation during the closing months of last season has put Dudgeon in a position to join his team-mates at the start of pre-season training and a return to action could come next week when the Tigers get their programme of friendly fixtures underway.
“I sat down with the medical staff straightaway and we said the target was the North Ferriby game,” said Dudgeon.
“That is usually the first game of pre-season so that became my aim. Nothing has changed really and I just want to be back playing and taking part in the first friendly of pre-season. It will feel good to be back out there playing, although maybe a little strange for the first few minutes. But as soon as I’m back into it, I’m sure I’ll forget about the injury and things will be back to normal.
“Last season was a long one for me mentally and physically, so it’s good to be back with the rest of the lads and able to take part in training with them.
“I am on a slightly different programme to the rest of the lads because I’ve got to ease myself back in, although I do feel ready to be a full part of it. But, after so long out, it would be pointless to risk all of the hard work that’s been put in. So it’s a case of easy myself in this week and then I’ll be back to it.”
Dudgeon returns to the fold with a Premier League season to look forward to and the left back believes there are good times ahead for the club.
“The lads were brilliant last season,” added Dudgeon.
“We won promotion to the Premier League and not many people can look back on their career and say that. We managed it as a young team and hopefully that is a sign of things to come.
“We’ve got a great team spirit here and any new players that come in will have no problem fitting in. We make them feel comfortable and it’s been perfect so far with those that have come in during the summer.”