Potts pleased to be back in action

Dan Potts is hoping his injury issues are behind him after making a welcome return to action for West Ham United
Dan Potts is hoping his injury issues are behind him after making a welcome return to action for West Ham United.

A fractured ankle and surgery to right a long-standing knee problem have restricted the home-grown left-back to just one first-team and seven Development Squad appearances in 2014/15.

The defender celebrated turning 21 last week by returning to the pitch in the Development Squad’s 2-1 Barclays U21 Premier League defeat by Norwich City on Friday.

“It’s definitely been a long few months for me, so to get back out on the pitch was a good feeling,” Potts told West Ham TV. “I was disappointed with the way the game turned out in the last 15 minutes, but personally I felt good.

“I didn’t expect to get the full 90 minutes but I managed it as I went on and felt really good, which was pleasing.”

After starting the Hammers’ Capital One Cup tie with Sheffield United in August, Potts’ luck has been out, with a pair of long-term injuries restricting his opportunities to add to the 13 first-team appearances he has made over the past three-and-a-half-seasons.

“Against Liverpool at the start of the season, I had the bad luck of fracturing my ankle in a bad fall, but I came through that OK and recovered quickly and got back out there,” he explained. “However, I had an ongoing problem with my knee which we tried to keep on top of without surgery.

“We saw a specialist at the turn of the year and he suggested surgery. I had that done, got through it and had a lengthy lay-off of eight or nine weeks before coming back to training. I feel good as new, so from that point of view it is very pleasing.

“It was good to get it solved and be back out there pain-free.”

Potts’ pleasure at making a successful return was tempered by the frustration of seeing two late goals deny the Development Squad a deserved victory over Norwich at Rush Green.

Playing alongside newly-signed professional Manny Onariase, the centre-backs looked in control before two late errors allowed the Canaries’ full-backs to turn the game on its head in the final six minutes.

“The disappointing thing was that I felt we were comfortable and in control throughout the game and they didn’t have a sniff, aside from one chance when Sam Howes pulled off a good save,” Potts observed.

“I felt in control of the game and I think most of the boys did too, especially Manny alongside me. Their lad up front was a big unit and you’re going to get that, but I felt we dealt with that well.

“It was just the last few minutes and a lack of concentration for both goals. You can’t do that at this level because you’ll get punished like we did on Friday.

“When you’re in that position, especially when you’re winning, it’s disappointing. It all boils down to results and winning the game. On Friday night we played well but we lost the game and the boys came in deflated.”

While Friday may have been frustrating for Potts, the bigger picture is much brighter, with the No33 targeting a strong return to regular action next season.

“This year has been frustrating and is definitely one to forget in that respect, but it’s coming to the end of the season and I’m trying to get my fitness back and look ahead to next year,” he concluded.

“I’ll be ready for pre-season and ready to go again in pre-season and hopefully luck will be on my side.”