Rebuilt Hughes returns to Blues

COMEBACK TRAIL: Cameron Hughes is confident of returning for Charlestown on Wednesday night..TEN months after a sickening knee injury threatened to end his playing days, Cameron Hughes could return for Charlestown in their catch-up match against Hamilton at Lisle Carr Oval tonight.

The 23-year-old was awaiting a clearance from Plattsburg-Maryland to be finalised last night but he was confident of turning out against Olympic.

The return will cap a dramatic period for the central defender, who missed 4½ months of work as an apprentice carpenter and was forced to move back home after the knee injury.

Hughes, the Blues’ 2011 player of the year, snapped his anterior cruciate ligament, damaged his lateral and medial ligaments and meniscus as well as suffering bone bruising in his right knee from a tackle against the Jets Youth in August last year.

It was the same knee he had reconstructed in 2010 and he was told he may not play again until 2014.

However, surgeons found the damage was not as bad as expected, although he still required a second reconstruction to repair the ACL.

He made a cautious comeback with Plattsburg-Maryland this season after joining the club as reserve grade coach.

After seven games, Hughes was keen to test himself at a higher level again.

“I didn’t really expect it to get back to the level it did, and Charlestown had been bugging me to get back up there if I thought my knee was all right,” Hughes said yesterday.

Last year Charlestown officials were seething over the challenge that caused the injury and Hughes was shattered to miss the Blues’ finals shot.

But Hughes is not looking back in anger. “You can sit there and hold grudges but you’re not going to get anywhere doing that,” he said.

Blues coach Mark Wilson said the addition of a “quality defender” was a big plus for his side given centre-back Mitchell Cook was suspended after two yellow carded challenges before half-time in the 2-1 loss to South Cardiff on Sunday.

The Blues also have the second-worst defensive record in the competition.

Wilson said Adam Boulter (ankle), striker Scott Smith and goalkeeper Andrew Goldman (family commitments) will miss the game.

Meanwhile, Hamilton are likely to again be without defender Greg Anderson.

He missed the 1-0 away win over Lake Macquarie on Sunday after having an infected tooth pulled and coach Michael Bolch was not expecting him to be available tonight.

Like Charlestown, Olympic’s backline has been vulnerable this season but Bolch was encouraged by the performance against the Roosters.

“We’d let in 11 goals in three games before that so to keep a clean sheet was a huge positive,” Bolch said.

Posted in 杭州龙凤