'It was a tough pill to swallow' - Captain Mills edging back to full fitness after 'frustrating' first season at Cobblers
Full-back hoping to return later in pre-season
Cobblers captain Joseph Mills is edging his way back to full fitness from the serious ankle injury he sustained at the end of last season.
The 31-year-old's stop-start first season at Sixfields ended in crushing disappointment when he limped off against Blackpool on the same day Town were officially relegated from League One.
After two months of rehab, Mills is back on the grass and hopes to play some part in pre-season.
"The recovery is progressing," he said. "The injury against Blackpool was very unfortunate and it was a tough pill to swallow but the rehab has been good. I have followed the advice of the surgeon and the medical staff here, we are where we need to be in the process and I am pleased with the progress.
"Last season didn't end the way we wanted either personally or for the team of course, and it was a frustrating season for me on the fitness front. I was just getting going and then I got the first ankle injury against Hull and I was feeling that on and off for the rest of the season.
"I picked up a few niggles as the season went on but I managed to get out there and as a player I always want to play, but the injury against Blackpool meant there was no coming back from that for me last season, but the summer rehab has gone well and I can't wait for the new season."
After doing some running work on his own at the start of the week, Mills joined training with the rest of the group on Friday - but he is not ready to set a firm date on his return to action just yet.
He added: "Friday was the first time I joined in with the group and it was the running session so maybe I should have left it another day or so! But being serious, it was good to be back and to be around the lads and seeing all the new lads, I am really excited for the season ahead.
"We will take pre-season as it comes. There is no point me earmarking a particular pre-season game that I want to play in, we will take things one step at a time and when the medical staff declare me ready to play, we'll be good to go, and hopefully that won't be too long.
"The new lads have settled to the squad in really well. The first day can always be difficult if you don't know too many familiar faces but they seem good lads, they have all gelled and fitted well into the group and the spirit in the squad is building well."