HIBS midfielder Joe Newell insists the opportunity to fully recover from an infuriating heel complaint is a slight silver lining to Scottish football’s enforced shut-down.
The 27-year-old has not kicked a ball since sustaining a foot injury during the Hibees’ 2-1 victory at Kilmarnock on February 16
He was due to feature against Livingston a week later but was forced to pull-out during the warm-up when he suffered a heel knock, resulting in internal bleeding and inflammation around the bone.
Newell described the persistent issue as ‘the most annoying’ injury of his career but, if he can take any positive from the current football hiatus, it is the fact he has been able to build his fitness gradually.
Newell, along with the rest of his Easter Road team-mates has been placed on furlough leave, but the former Rotherham ace will be able to maintain and step up his own personal regiment.
And he is determined to hit the ground running when football does ultimately return.
Newell said: “This has given my heel a little bit more time to recover because there was still a little bit of pain going through it.
“I’ve taken some time to completely rest it before even trying a run. I went to the gym for a few bike sessions when they were open – but obviously that’s a thing of the past now.
“Over the next few weeks I’ll be able to up the ante in terms of my personal fitness and step up the intensity.
“When the shut-down was announced I was, like everybody, gutted. But after that initial disappointment, the secondary thought was about how I can use this time to properly get back to 100 per cent fitness.
“Once I’m completely clear of that heel issue, and when it’s safe to get back to playing football, I’ll be able to come in at the same level as the rest of the boys.”