CENTRAL defender Tommie Hoban, fresh from completing 90-minutes for Republic of Ireland's Under-19 side after they beat the Czech Republic 2-1 on Tuesday night, thinks the game was a step in the right direction as he looks to pick up where he left off before an Achilles problem halted his season in December.
Speaking exclusively to watfordfc.com, the Academy graduate returns to the club’s London Colney training ground on Thursday, and has set his sights on a return to the first-team.
“We had a double session on Sunday, then a single on Monday before the game on Tuesday," he said.
I was surprised I managed to get through the whole game actually, but it’s good for me that I did.
“I can’t wait to get back training with the boys. These few days in Ireland have definitely helped with my fitness. Ninety minutes will help me get back to match sharpness. With a few days back with the team, hopefully I can start pushing for a starting place again.”
The injury meant Hoban went without a Watford appearance since the 2-1 defeat to Charlton at Vicarage Road, and despite playing through discomfort, the pain eventually took its toll.
“It had been hurting me for a couple of weeks prior to it breaking down. I think it was a gradual thing that I’ve picked up over time.
“After the Brighton game I started to notice, and by the end of the Charlton game it had got a lot worse. Obviously I missed the Manchester City game which was frustrating, but when I went back into training it had got worse, even after resting it.
“I went to see the physio, it took about a month to get it right. I just need to keep on top of it, while I’m back in training. Hopefully If I do that it’ll clear up completely with time.”
With a return to the training pitch imminent, Hoban believes with the help of some experienced defensive mentors, this season can be one to remember on both a personal and team level.
“The likes of Fitz Hall, Nyron Nosworthy and Lloyd Doyley have been great for me. They’ve all played hundreds of games, whether it’s been in the Premier League or the Championship. To be coming through when that kind of player is at the club is great for me.
“I got my break, and I’ve played more games so now I’m hoping to get back on the training pitch and win back the place that I had."