Injury Update | Isaac Success
By Kevin Affleck
With fingers firmly crossed, the medical department could be ready to integrate Isaac Success back into full training on Monday in what would be most welcome news for the Hornets.
The barrel-chested forward has made just two substitute appearances in the last 15 matches and has only started one game this season, away at Middlesbrough, largely because of a troublesome hamstring.
The explosive and unpredictable nature of his play has been sorely missed but there looks like there is finally some light at the end of what looked a very long and dark tunnel.
"I'm good and I'm getting better," Success said yesterday. "I'm hoping to train with the team on Monday."
Success is one of the more laid back, laissez faire members of the squad so an update from new medical director Luca Gatteschi is probably wise before fans indulge in any chicken counting.
"It's possible,"Gatteschi said. "The next two days are crucial. We are doing specific work on Success, both in the physio room and on the pitch and in the gym to avoid the risk of another injury.
"He's working well. The last two days he's had a good training load and been running without any problem. We have to test more in the next two days with very specific workloads and change of direction. We are very close to the end."
Why, fans have asked, has Success played back-to-back games in October and then missed the next seven, and then been absent for a further six following two successive appearances in December? "The injury is the problem but the problem doesn't always start at the site of the injury," said Gatteschi.
"You have to balance better all the body. All the muscles work together and we have tried to work on the injury but also balance better the muscles and the way he moves. We have done some good work in this area.
“We are using different workloads every day to avoid overload: running on the treadmill, on the bike and running at different speeds outside. We need to strengthen the central core and the upper body muscles."
Success is a bundle of muscle and a wrecking ball of a forward so does his physique and all-action style contribute to his propensity for injury.
"When a player has a lot of power and is very explosive they use a lot of force, so the muscle and tendon need to sustain a very high workload," Gatteschi said.
"It's better to have a high level of power, though. It's been frustrating but we are really close to the result. It's just important to avoid problems in the last days. We are near."
Success is chomping at the bit to return and produce the sort of performances that turned Pablo Zabaleta inside out at the Etihad before Christmas.
"It's frustrating as I'm trying to make my name in the Premier League," Success said. "I haven't had the chance to impress. Everyone knows my ability but I've got more to offer to the fans and the team."
There was even talk that the luckless Success, who it's easy to forget is still only 21, had been struck by some African curse.
"I heard that," he joked. "I'm a Christian and I really don't believe in that. Injury comes when you are a professional and most of the time hard work can help prevent it. I've really started working harder than before to prevent injuries. I believe I'm coming back stronger and stronger than before."