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