ELLIOT Hunter’s knee injury hell has returned and his worst fears were confirmed when receiving the results of a hospital scan this week.
The versatile 20-year-old — who has absent from the Bury Town team since October — is set to go under the knife in the spring for the second major knee operation of his short football career, which could keep him out until deep into 2013.
Doctors confirmed Hunter has torn the cartilage and cruciate in his left knee, just months after overcoming a similar problem in his right knee that kept him out for most of last season.
“I was absolutely gutted — it was heart-wrenching to hear the news,” he said. “You just don’t see anyone at 20 having both knees done.
“But it’s not just about the injury, it’s about your confidence in the game and your confidence to go into tackles.”
However, the highly-rated youngster is determined to overcome this latest setback and return to the Blues’ line-up in the future even stronger.
His 13 starts and six substitute appearances this season include a man-of-the-match display in a holding midfield role away at Canvey Island, alongside veteran John Kennedy — who was just one of a number of players to contact Hunter this week and offer their support.
“If anything, I’m even more determined to overcome it this time than I was last time,” added the West Suffolk College graduate.
Hunter is set to meet a surgeon as soon as possible with a view to having an operation in the spring. From then, he could be sidelined for another year.
Although he is set to miss out on Bury’s push for promotion from the Ryman League Premier Division, Hunter believes the Blues are starting to put the sort of run together that could make them a real force to be reckoned with between now and the end of the season.
“We seem to be finally putting a bit of a run together,” he said. “The win at Leatherhead on Saturday was the best we have played all year.
“It’s taken us a while to get into this season. We’re not the new boys anymore and teams want to do a job against us.
“I still think it’s going to be hard to win the league from here, but as Wilks said, if we are there or thereabouts just after Christmas, we can step it up and push on — and we seem to be the team that are in form at the moment.”
Bury go to East Thurrock United tomorrow (3pm) before hosting Margate on Tuesday (7.45pm) — full preview on Page 134.