Richie Smallwood says that coming back from injury into a side on the verge of promotion is all that he could have asked for during his time on the sidelines.
A knee injury saw the skipper miss most of February and all of March before he returned to action in mid-April to help Hull City seal their path back to the Sky Bet Championship, and the midfielder has been impressed with the way the players have pushed on in recent weeks.
“It was tough to be out for a couple of months and it was probably the first injury I’ve had that has kept me out for more than a couple of weeks,” said Smallwood.
“It was unfortunate but thankfully the lads have really pushed on with this long unbeaten run and that is credit to them, and is nothing short of unbelievable at this stage of the season.
“It was a nervous wait when I got injured because I was waiting to see what the scans and specialists would say. It was good once I realised I could be back before the end of the season and it has been nice to come back into a squad that has been in great form.
“It’s a young squad in the main but it’s full of character and they’ve come out fighting after that sticky patch in February. To come out of the other side of that shows what we’ve got in the dressing room and goes along with the talent that we have in there. There has been a real sense of calm and control in what we’ve done and full credit for that goes to the lads and the staff.”
Smallwood now wants to help Grant McCann’s side lift the League One title and says that will be the squad’s main focus for the last couple of games of the campaign.
“We’re in pole position and it’s a massive opportunity for us,” the 30-year-old continued.
“When you looked at the league before the start of the season, you felt that there would be a lot of contenders for top spot and we’ve been right up there from the word go.
“We’ve been right at it and, although we’ve had a couple of dips like any team will have, we can still go beyond the 90-point barrier and that would be a big statement and give us even more momentum going into next season."