FIT-AGAIN BAPTISTE BACK IN RUNNING
ALEX BAPTISTE is nearing a long-awaited return to action, and the Middlesbrough defender admits that watching his team-mates thrive this season has been particularly difficult for him.
Baptiste was Boro boss Aitor Karanka’s first signing last summer when he penned a three-year deal at the Riverside Stadium after joining from Bolton Wanderers.
However, just 20 minutes into his pre-season debut against York City, the 29-yearold suffered a double leg fracture.
He is back in training and featured for the U21s this week.
Now, Baptiste is desperate to complete his recovery and turn out for the first team.
“It has probably been the toughest time of my professional career,” he said.
“I haven’t really had a big injury like this before, but it’s coming to an end, so I’m looking forward to what I can produce. Training has been full-blooded so I’ve just been getting on with it really.
“I’ve never had an injury as big as that, so it was hard for my mind.
“I had high expectations coming here, and to be cut short a week in was heartbreaking.
“I was more gutted that I knew I’d be out for a considerable amount of time and that, after just signing, I couldn’t really show what I could do for the squad.
“But I’m back now and, hopefully, I can produce something for this club.”
In his absence Boro have laid the foundations for a serious promotion challenge and Baptiste admits he has been impressed, especially with their miserly defence.
“I’ve never seen that in my years playing in this league,” he said.
“They’ve been a credit to themselves and the whole team has been fantastic. So have the staff.
“We’re all striving for promotion so, hopefully, we can get into the Premier League because this club deserves it massively.”
RETURNING: Alex Baptiste