Brentford defender Harlee Dean said he will battle back from injury to win a place in starting line-up for first day of Sky Bet Championship season
Harlee Dean said he was on the road to recovery after undergoing an abdominal operation last month.
The centre half had abdominal surgery at the end of April for a problem which troubled him during a large part of the season.
The injury was difficult to diagnose and Harlee, speaking to Bees Player last week, admitted it had been a tough time for him.
He said he was trying to avoid an operation but had to go for surgery in the end.
Harlee said his aim now was to be fully fit for the start of pre-season in June.
“I am recovering,” said the defender.
“It was sore for three or four days, I couldn’t really move.
“I am more mobile now and it has gone well.
“It has been really hard.
“No-one knew how to make it better.
“I tried for three or four months to not have an operation and get through.
“It has been frustrating, I am happy it’s done and I can get back fit for pre-season.”
Harlee admitted his injury had affected his season.
He said it had been a frustrating time as he wanted to kick on after 2012/13 and was unable to do so.
Harlee said he was happy to win promotion, even though he did not play many games in the latter part of the season because of the injury, and he added he would always remember his part in it.
“It affected my form,” said the centre back.
“I couldn’t move.
“I found it hard to kick the ball more than 30 yards around the Christmas period.
“I was on painkillers during games but I did it for the team, the manager needed me and we got promoted.
“A lot of people remember the end of the season, I played 30 games this year and a lot were important wins.
“It has been a frustrating year for me personally, but we have gone up, so I am happy.
“It has been very frustrating as I wanted to kick on and better myself.
“I was battling my body in training and getting through games, I wasn’t able to enjoy it or excel.
“I want to be the best I can be and show everyone how good I am.
“When I am not playing as well as I know I can, it is frustrating.
“When you can't do the things you normally do with ease, a cross field pass or a channel ball – things that were tough – it is frustrating.”
Brentford ended the season with James Tarkowski and Tony Craig paired in the centre of defence.
Harlee said they would face a fight for the shirt at the start of 2014/15.
“I think they did really well but I did when I was playing,” he said.
“Everyone remembers the end of the season, we went up and they were playing.
“I am gutted I missed it.
“They have a fight on their hands.
“I will come back fit, use pre-season to sharpen up and get that shirt for the first game.
“I will work when I am on holiday.
“I will live right, I have desire to make sure I am fit at the start of pre-season.”
Harlee said it was up to him to come back in the best shape and get the shirt.
“To be a Championship player is everything I wanted,” he said.
“I wanted it this year and we missed out.
“It was a massive blow.
“Now we have done it I want to be a part of it and I will be really disappointed if I am not a part of it at the start of the season.
“It will be down to me and what condition I come back in.
“I felt good for the first ten games this season, then I got the injury and struggled with my form.
“I want to get back to that and make sure the manager has to pick me.”
Harlee said the awards handed to young players showed the quality of the squad.
Jake Bidwell and Adam Forshaw were named in the Sky Bet League One PFA Team of the Year.
Adam was also named Sky Bet League One Player of the Year at the Football League Awards.
“We have some very good players and some good attitudes,” said Harlee, looking ahead to what The Bees could do in The Championship 2014/15.
“Players like Adam and Jake have won accolades, which shows how good the young players are.
“I started here with them, we were here when we finished nowhere, here when we reached the Play-Off Final last season and we want it more than anyone.
“We will add quality and we can have a really good season.
“I don’t know where we will finish, Championship football is new to me, but I know I will make myself as good as possible and I am sure the other lads will.”
Harlee, along with the rest of the players, collected a medal to mark promotion at the end of the season.
“It was a funny situation,” he said.
“When you are not on the pitch when it finishes, you feel a bit left out.
“It was a strange sensation, I was pleased we went up but hadn’t played for a while and didn’t really feel part of it.
“But I did play 30 odd games.
“It was good to see the fans and the kids on the sides, what it meant to them, that changed my mood.
“I realised we deserved it and I deserved it and it was a special moment.”
A full post-season interview with Harlee Dean is available here for Bees Player subscribers.