Motivated Port Vale defender Cristian Montaño is anticipating his return to the pitch as he edges ever closer to full fitness following a horrific knee injury suffered during the 2-1 home defeat to Newport County in September.
The Colombian full-back, who can also play as a forward, has been working ever since to regain the form that spurred him on to be one of Vale’s stand out players last season and has since re-joined first team training.
However, it has not come without frustration and with a premature return against MK Dons in the league, it further pushed back Montaño’s recovery.
He said: “This season has been a strange one for me. I have been off for two months now. It has been very stop-start.
“It has been very frustrating because when you end a season and you come back into the new season, you set yourself standards and targets.
“You don’t play games or even train when you are injured to the extent that I was.
“It can play a bit on your mind, especially when I came back against MK Dons, I probably should have been out a bit longer.
“Obviously you support the lads, but you want to be out there playing, living the moment, especially when things have been going as well as they have been recently.”
Despite his injury set back, the 26-year-old is remaining positive and after being rewarded with a new two-year-deal in May, the West Ham youth graduate is raring to go.
He said: “I have got to understand what I have been through over the past few months. I have got to keep maintaining the same level of motivation that I had when I first had my injury.
“I need to believe in myself and I need to keep working hard off the pitch to make sure that when I do come back in and regain my form from last season, I can stay in the team.”
It was former manager Michael Brown who brought “Monty” to Vale Park and ever since his arrival, the former Oldham Athletic player has been impressed with his teammates, especially those who provide competition for the full-back position.
“The team have done well, outstandingly well. They have been picking up results and I have just got to keep working hard. I am just excited to be fit and when the gaffer gives me the opportunity again, I’m going to take it.
“The competition has been really good, the lads who have played wing-back and full-back have done outstanding for the team. You want that sort of competition to push yourself.”
With the club undefeated in four league games, team morale is high, and Montaño puts that down to the togetherness of the team.
“The performances and the results that we have been getting recently, you get confidence and we have got a strong togetherness.
“We have got a really good unit here and we push and egg each other on so with the results that we have been getting it helps the relationship of the team even more.”
The Valiants travel to One Call Stadium to face 7th placed Mansfield Town for Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two clash.