CHRIS Brown has told The Star he never feared for his career despite requiring a second knee operation in the space of a year.
The Doncaster-born striker spent five months on the sidelines after going under the knife last September.
It was also an injury to his left knee which ruled him out of the majority of Preston North End’s fight for survival the season before but Brown said he always knew he would play again.
“There was never a point when I didn’t think I would comeback,” said the affable Brown. “I know I have had a couple of knee operations but it feels fine now.”
Brown, contracted to Rovers until 2013, returned to training six weeks ago and has forced his way back into the first-team set up, coming on as a substitute in their last three outings. He grabbed a late equaliser to rescue a point for the relegation-threatened club at Crystal Palace.
He said: “It has been a nightmare [the injury], especially as I didn’t play an awful lot the season before. I’ve got to be positive now. It is getting stronger all the time and I just want to end on a positive note. It has been frustrating. I thought I had cracked it so many times but I just kept on having little setbacks.
“My match fitness is not going to be there but you can get fitter by playing games.”
Now Brown is itching to make his mark and help Rovers beat the drop.
“It is not nice having to watch the team,” he said. “When a new manager comes in, you want to impress.
“It is frustrating to get an injury as you don’t really feel part of things. It is frustrating but I’ve got six matches left to make an impression.
“It has taken a while for me to get my sharpness but I have felt good in the last few games. My fitness is coming on and hopefully I can play a big part in the team doing well.
“It is up to the manager when your involved in games and I have to look like I’m enjoying playing. If you do that, it goes a long way to getting in the team. He wants people who are hungry and that’s what you have got to show.”
The recent fixture pile-up has taken its toll on Rovers, who have won only once in 15 matches. Dean Saunders men have just six matches left to make up a six-point deficit and secure their Championship status, starting at Leicester City tomorrow, a ground where they have not triumphed in nearly a 100 years.
Saunders said: “We have been able to work on a few things this week. We have had to stumble from game to game because of the ridiculous schedule.
“I’ve had problems with the defenders getting injured so we’ve been going into games where we have not had a real training session with a new back four which is not ideal at this level.
“I haven’t been able to do much with them because they have just been rolling from game to game so it has been difficult.”
Ex-Welsh international Saunders is poised to reshuffle his back four at Leicester. Pascal Chimbonda and Shelton Martis are in contention to return, having recovered from hamstring and groin problems. George Friend and Adam Lockwood look set to drop out. To accommodate right-back Chimbonda, Habib Beye may move inside to partner Martis.
Brian Stock could feature after overcoming a virus and Frederic Piquionne will lead the attack despite picking up a knock versus Birmingham.
Teams and ref
leicester (possible): Schmeichel; Peltier, Morgan, St Ledger, Konchesky; Drinkwater, Wellens, Marshall; Nugent, Dyer, Beckford (4-3-3).
ROVERS (possible): Ikeme; Chimbonda, Beye, Martis or Lockwood, Ilunga; Robert, Oster or Stock, Gillett, Barnes, Diouf; Piquionne or Brown (4-5-1).
ROGER EAST (Wiltshire): Last took charge of a Rovers match in September 2010 when Sean O’Driscoll’s side slumped to a 3-0 reversal at Queens Park Rangers. He has refereed 39 matches this season, handing out 111 bookings and five red cards.
One to watch
Liverpool-born striker David Nugent is a handful on his day. The one-time England international, who cost Portsmouth £6m five years ago, has notched 15 goals in 42 appearances for the Foxes this year.
It is almost a 100 years since Rovers last triumphed at Leicester. But the relegation battlers are searching for a first double of the campaign, having beaten the Foxes 2-1 in December courtesy of a Billy Sharp brace.