Luke McCullough: I’m ready when the manager needs me

Luke McCullough

Luke McCullough

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Luke McCullough says he is ready to return to action if and when his manager needs him.

The 23-year-old had been expected to miss the entire season after suffering cruciate knee ligament damage in a pre-season friendly against York City last July.

But the Northern Ireland international has made a quicker than expected return to fitness and played for an hour in a training ground practice match against the Nike Football Academy on Tuesday.

McCullough admits Sunday’s title six-pointer with Plymouth Argyle is likely to come too soon but hopes to feature before the season is out.

“I’m hoping to get some games in, it depends if the manager wants to put me in the squad,” said McCullough.

“I do think I’m ready now.

“I played sixty minutes in a game at the training ground this week against the Nike Academy and I felt fit. It was good to get some minutes in the legs.

“I’ve worked hard in the gym and I feel as fit as I have done in a while.

“I feel like I’m ready to be involved but obviously it’s up to the manager. This weekend might be too soon but there’s plenty of games left.”

He added: “Obviously I’m not going to walk straight back into the team. I’ll have to work at it.

“It’s nice to be in the position we’re in and if we can get promoted a bit earlier it takes a bit of pressure off and gives me more licence to come into the team and get some minutes before the season ends.”

Rovers might sit top of League Two but understandably the last eight months have dragged for McCullough.

He said: “It’s been hard to watch. I don’t really like watching. But at the same time, although I wouldn’t say I’ve enjoyed being out, I’ve tried to embrace it and just do things to the best of my ability.

“It’s obviously gone quite well because I’ve managed to get back a lot earlier than I expected. It’s gone quite smoothly but at the same time it’s felt quite long as well.

“I’m just happy to be back and be back training. It’s nice to feel like a footballer again!”