Jake Forster-Caskey could return to action before the end of the season, defying the initial prognosis that he would have no chance of playing in 2018/19 following the serious injury he sustained in August.
The central midfielder has been out since the summer after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament and, having been told he would not play again this season, is now keen to get some minutes under his belt before the regular campaign is over.
The 24-year-old says he is feeling great and is currently ahead of schedule: "I feel really good. Obviously, when I initially had this injury, I was told the season was a total write-off, but I’ve done well in my recovery, put everything into it and hopefully now have a chance of maybe seeing a game or two.
"Some minutes for the U23s is not too far away. The plan next week is for me to be reintegrated into training with some non-contact and then I'll be playing an U23 game."
Forster-Caskey admits the whole recovery process has not been as easy as some expect, but he has put in the relevant work and hopes to still play a part in what is set to be a massive end to the season for the Addicks.
“The injury was tough early on, but with things like this you can’t really sit back and be sorry for yourself," he said.
"After a few days, I sort of came to terms with it and it was just about getting my head down and just trying to get myself back fit. It’s helped that the boys have done well, so it’s given me even more motivation to come back and try and help out and push for promotion.”
The former Brighton & Hove Albion man was full of praise for the medical team and other staff at the club and says it was their support that has helped with his rapid progress.
“The medical staff have done a brilliant job and so has everyone at the club, to be honest," Forster-Caskey explained.
"Even when it comes to the gaffer, Bow has been right there for me. Jacko [Johnnie Jackson] has been there as well so it’s the whole club and the fans. I was touched with how much support I got from the fans, so hopefully I can come back and repay them."
Meanwhile, with only eight games of the league season left, Forster-Caskey is eager to get back on the pitch at The Valley and help push the Addicks towards promotion.
“This season, I got the number eight shirt," he said.
"It was always my dream to play at number eight and, obviously, I got that and then it got taken away from me with this injury. So if I can put that number eight shirt back on and run out at The Valley before the end of the season, then I think it will be a dream come true.”
(Article by: Charlie Lane)