I’m get­ting back up to speed with the boys, says Isaac

Birmingham Post - - PERSONAL FINANCE - Brian Dick Foot­ball Writer

ISAAC Vas­sell has spo­ken of his plea­sure at be­ing back in the first­team pic­ture with Birm­ing­ham City.

The 25-year-old played his first game for the club’s Un­der-23s on Satur­day and an­nounced his re­turn from a 14-month in­jury lay-off with two goals.

The first of those came from the penalty spot af­ter he sprinted into the box to win the spot-kick him­self. It went a long way to ad­dress­ing con­cerns that the se­ri­ous knee in­jury he sus­tained in Oc­to­ber 2017 would di­min­ish his main as­set – his pace.

“Go­ing into it, it was about pre­par­ing for a nor­mal game,” Vas­sell told bcfc.com. “Try­ing to get my mind back on how to pre­pare, do every­thing right. In the game, I just wanted to en­joy it.

“Af­ter­wards I guess I was happy with the per­for­mance and the re­sult. I was happy that my knee didn’t re­act and it was all good.

“The pace is still there! I went through, got brought down and stepped up and took the pen. It was a nice feel­ing when the ball went in.

“Scor­ing any kind of goal it’s a great feel­ing, to get one af­ter that long was spe­cial.

“It has been very frus­trat­ing. It has been quite hard some­times, but the lads have been bril­liant to me, they have helped me through it. I have just tried to think about the next step, whether it was run­ning, sprint­ing, kick­ing the ball – things like that. Just tak­ing it week by week, re­ally, and keep go­ing from there.

“Def­i­nitely (there were dark days), yes. If you can see the end goal, you re­alise you can’t waste time hav­ing bad days, though. You have to keep mov­ing, get on with it and do every­thing right to get back to the stage where you’re go­ing to play again.”

Blues boss Garry Monk had hoped to have the £1 mil­lion for­ward avail­able just af­ter the start of the sea­son but there was a set­back with a hip in­jury.

“There are al­ways se­condary in­juries af­ter big ones,’’ said Vas­sell.

“If I had got through every­thing with­out a se­condary in­jury it would have been good.

“But you have to ex­pect these things when you haven’t moved your body for a long time and you try to com­pete at a high level. I have been with the first team for a few weeks now, get­ting back into the swing of things. I am feel­ing good.”

He has now set his sights on re­turn­ing to the Cham­pi­onship squad – and giv­ing sup­port to Lukas Jutkiewicz and Che Adams, who have been en­joy­ing ex­cel­lent sea­sons.

“The lads have been ex­cel­lent. The men­tal­ity has changed. Every­one is so drilled,’’ said Vas­sell. “We are play­ing a lot bet­ter. Every­one knows their roles and what they need to do in or­der for us to get suc­cess.

“Every­one has got their head down and is work­ing re­ally hard. The proof has been in the pud­ding. We’ve all seen what it’s been like this sea­son to last sea­son and the years be­fore. Credit to the lads and the man­age­ment.

“Those two (Jutkiewicz and Adams) have been on fire. Es­pe­cially with our shape and the way we set up, it suits the likes of me and Che, and Jukey helps out with head­ers and flick-ons.

“It’s like a striker’s dream, re­ally, to play along­side some­one like him. It has been nice to watch this year as it’s what you want to aspire to do your­self, re­ally.

“Hope­fully I can get back on the pitch very soon and help the team with what I can do.”

> Isaac Vas­sell is eye­ing a re­turn to the Cham­pi­onship squad

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