The new Sky Bet Championship season got underway on Saturday after an intense pre-season training programme for the Brentford players. Head Coach Dean Smith has been able to call on all but two of his squad, long-term absentees Alan Judge and Lewis Macleod, during pre-season and now, with the new campaign a game old, Neil Greig, Brentford FC Head of Medical, has prepared an update for fans on the injured duo.
Alan Judge sustained a double fracture of the lower leg in a match against Ipswich Town in April last year. He underwent surgery on the injury at the time and underwent further surgery towards the end of last season. The Republic of Ireland international had recently been in America with the world-renowned rehabilitation specialist Bill Knowles.
Neil said: “Alan has returned from his recent reconditioning camp in Philadelphia in a very good place. During the two weeks that he worked with Bill Knowles (Head of Athletic Development at HP Sports) it was evident to see Alan’s confidence improve and his movement quality develop alongside this. The aims of the two-week camp were really to offer Alan a different stimulus, with a world-renowned expert in his field, to push on with his physical development as nature continues to heal the bone. Much of the two-week camp focussed on movement competency and restoration of ‘normal’, which in turn then leads to the restoration of ‘athletic normal’ which Alan has been some way from for a prolonged period now.
“Have worked closely with Alan since his return from the camp, it’s clear to see that aims of the camp were achieved and he is now demonstrating far greater confidence and movement quality than we have seen previously. Alan’s engagement with the reconditioning process whilst working with Bill was first class, as it has been throughout his recovery, and he is now well placed to begin the next phase of his return.
“In around 10 days Alan will undergo further assessment by the Consultant who is managing his case. At that point we hope to see another positive scan with regards to bone healing which will allow us to move towards beginning outdoor work. Whilst we still have some hurdles to clear over the coming weeks, we all believe that we are now in the best place that we’ve been to date and Alan’s return to training can begin to be focussed on with confidence.”
Lewis Macleod suffered a significant knee injury in the win over Queens Park Rangers in October. He had surgery in November and has been able to return to light training with his teammates during pre-season. Neil has been pleased with Lewis’ progress and is hopeful he will be able to step up his training again over the coming weeks.
“Lewis travelled with the squad to our recent training camp in France where he was able to begin joining the main group for some of the lighter football elements of training, whilst continuing his physical reconditioning with the Medical and Performance staff,” said Neil. “This process went well and Lewis has begun to build his confidence through daily exposures to field-based training. In addition to his field-based content, he has also demonstrated significant improvements in his gym-based objective markers, which we use as means to identify where our strength and conditioning programming needs to focus. This objective approach is far more reliable than simply using time scales as a means to monitor progress. As with Alan, Lewis’s application and effort has been first-class.
“Our approach with Lewis moving forward from this stage focuses on building on his daily football exposure with the team, whilst delivering him a ‘pre-season’ period of football specific conditioning. We hope that this process will see him back into full training at some point in September after which the ourselves and the coaching staff can provide him with a progressive return to match action.”