Cherries: Stephenson happy to back in the frame
Cherries teenager Tim Stephenson believes he must push on and start catching the eye as he bids to make up for lost time. The homegrown defender has been with the club for around 10 years and was rewarded with his first professional contract in the summer. But he has been unable to display his credentials after suffering injury problems since signing the one-year deal. Having overcome a double hernia sustained during pre-season, the centre-half then injured knee ligaments in a reserve team victory over Forest Green Rovers in September. The 18-year-old was named among the substitutes for Tuesday night's FA Cup defeat at Notts County. And he is keen to press his claims in the coming weeks. Stephenson told the Echo: I haven't had the best start, being injured a few times already. It's good to be involved, even if I'm just going to sit on the bench. I'm always pleased to be given the opportunity by the gaffer. I've got to push on, work really hard, start impressing and really get back into it. I've really got to get involved and that sort of opportunity on Tuesday is what I need. Stephenson revealed that his injury woes have not been all bad with the rehabilitation process helping to improve his strength and conditioning. Detailing the problems he has faced since the summer, the youth team graduate added: I started off training and running in pre-season as usual. After training, I had a few aches in my groins and went to Steve (Hard, Cherries physio). He sent me to the doctor and I was diagnosed with a hernia on both sides. I went in and had an operation. I recovered reasonably well a bit slower because I wanted to take it a little bit easier, having had the hernia both sides. I came back to training and had the first reserve game a week later. I went in for a tackle after 20 minutes and tore the ligament on the inside of my knee, which wasn't too good. I had to do pre-season again almost there was quite a lot of running involved. But I feel that I'm stronger because I did a lot of rehab and a lot of strength and conditioning work. It's been a positive as well as a negative. I feel a lot fitter than I did and stronger, leg-wise. Working with Jon (Dalzell, conditioning coach), has helped out a lot.
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