But Baggies keeper delighted to be back in full training
BEN Foster admits he has a crucial psychological barrier to overcome as he edges closer to fitness.
The Baggies goalkeeper has resumed full training after scans last week confirmed the stress fracture in his right foot is completely healed.
He could now be available for first-team selection within the next fortnight.
But, after a frustrating four months on the sidelines due to the injury he suffered while running for a ball at Everton, he says it is difficult not to be slightly anxious about his foot.
“I’m doing really well, actually,” said Foster.
“I started training two days ago, mixing in with the lads and the goalkeepers.
“I’m pretty much up to full speed.
“In the next week or two, I should be fairly good to go again.
“It’s like coming back off a pre-season, really.
“What we thought might have been a 12-week injury has turned into near enough a four-month injury.
“It’s a long time to go without playing football.
“But I feel all right, to be fair.
“I’ve managed to keep in pretty good shape and it’s really nice to be back.
“But the fact it was such an innocuous injury makes me worry a little bit.
“Now I’m back to full training, I’ve always got it in the back of my head how easy it went in the first place.
“The four months I’ve just done has been a horrible time.
“It’s probably been the worst injury I’ve had in terms of being limited to what you can do in your rehab.
“It takes a lot of getting over mentally - just getting back into the full swing of things and diving about.
“You’ve just got to try and trust it, trust the scans, which say it is healed and clean.
“I’ve just got to try and forget about it – but it is hard.
“I’m trying to learn to put it to the back of my head.”
The tough task of ousting Boaz Myhill from between the sticks to regain his place in the team also faces Foster.
But he insists his first test is ensuring he is physically and mentally ready for a return to Barclays Premier League action.
“It’s going to be quite intensive training,” he added.
“It will take time to get my eye back in again and get my body used to diving about again.
“I’ve only been diving around for a couple of days and my body is killing!
“There is only so much you can do in the gym to keep yourself fit.
“The tiredness you get from diving around and your muscles taking beatings every day is different – I’ve been going home and sleeping!
“I did the injury just by going to run, which is incredible.
“That was probably the least exertion I put on it that day.
“I made saves, I’d kicked, I’d done all sorts but it was just a little run that broke it.
“I just went to push off, I felt a crack and that was my bone breaking. I threw the ball out, did a few sidesteps and the pain was immense.
"But there is never an exact science with these things.
“Last week, I did a bit of kicking. I was nervous side-footing at first but within five or ten minutes I was kicking it properly.
“I’m doing all right. I’ve been back in full training with the lads doing plenty of footwork, movements and kicking balls.”