AFC Portchester manager Mick Catlin has praised the “unbelievable effort” displayed by Joe Noakes in his battle back from serious injury to full fitness.
The midfielder made his first team return on Tuesday night when he came on as a 78th minute substitute against Fareham Town in the Russell Cotes Cup.
Those 12 minutes of action at the Crest Finance Stadium brought to an end over two years out on the sidelines with serious injuries.
Noakes had recovered from cruciate ligament problems in time for pre-season training last summer and he made it back out on to the pitch then in some of the Royals’ pre-season friendlies.
However, he broke his leg in a friendly against United Services Portsmouth and had to battle back from that setback as well before making his first team return on Tuesday night.
Catlin and club physio Mark Gibson only have words of praise for the powers of recovery and determination Noakes has displayed on the long road back to full fitness.
Catlin said: “It has been an unbelievable effort from Joe to get back from a broken leg in just six months.
“His work ethic and desire is an inspiration to us all at the club.”
Gibson added: “I’ve been at AFC Portchester for nearly 18 months now and had Noaksey in my ear every training session and game since I've been at the club.
“When a player puts in so much hard work, listens to any advice you give after having a bad time with an ACL reconstruction and then a broken tibia that had complications, it's an amazing feeling seeing him get some minutes on the pitch.
“I really hope this is it now on the injury front for him and he can crack on this season, as we are still in with a big chance of promotion.”