1:20pm Thursday 26th July 2012
By Matt Bass
Scott Cuthbert insists he is not far behind the rest of the Leyton Orient squad as he bids to get himself up to full fitness for the coming season.
The 25-year-old made his return to action for the club in their second pre-season friendly on Saturday as Russell Slade’s side fell to a 1-0 loss at Ebbsfleet United.
Cuthbert suffered a hamstring injury at the end of March, a setback which saw him sidelined for the remainder of the campaign.
His performances prior to that saw him scoop the O’s Player of the Year award though and his inclusion in the squad at the weekend was a welcome sight for the travelling supporters.
Despite having the injury to overcome, the Scot stressed he was not far behind the rest of the squad in terms of fitness and highlighted the importance of a good pre-season campaign in preparing for a new season.
“I am not far behind already. It’s all positive at the minute so hopefully it stays that way,” explained Cuthbert.
“In my first year at Swindon I didn’t have a pre-season. I came straight into the team and I found it tough. It took me five or six games to get going.
“But now, I have done the majority of the running – maybe bar one run I have done it all with the boys. I am feeling the benefits of that already. I am feeling fitter already.
“Hopefully, my hamstring will stay strong, which I am confident it will, and I can keep on getting fit for the start of the season.”
Cuthbert missed the opening friendly victory at Sutton United last week but returned to the fray to play the first half against Ebbsfleet.
He was joined in the heart of the defence by new signing Nathan Clarke and the duo impressed in their first outing together, keeping the home attack at bay.
And Cuthbert was delighted to get back on the pitch for the E10 club.
“It felt good,” he enthused. “It was good to be back out there.
“After four months off it is always nice to get back out on the pitch with the lads and get the legs going. I am feeling a bit stiff now but it was a good 45 minutes.”
He continued: “From when I did it at the end of March up until maybe three weeks ago, I did nothing. I wasn’t able to run or anything so I was just in the gym strengthening it every day.
“The last two or three weeks have been tough getting myself back fit. That was the reason I couldn’t play on Wednesday because I was really stiff from all the work getting back.
“But I feel really good. The hamstring feels really good so hopefully it can stay strong and I can keep on getting myself back fit.”
The timing of his injury was not the best for the O’s as the defender was unavailable for the run-in to the campaign which saw Slade’s men beat the drop on the penultimate day of the season.
It did mean, however, that much of his recovery time was during the summer, and Cuthbert was able to see the positives in the way events conspired.
He added: “They say probably the best time to get injured is in the off season. I was able to take a break and I didn’t miss football too much because there was none.
“It was good as it was an ideal time. I could get myself back fit, get my hamstring back strong and I am feeling stronger for it.”
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