Connor Ronan admits that he isn’t expecting to walk into the first team just because he has made first team appearances this season.
Ronan impressed for the first team during the 16/17 season as he made three starts and three appearances from the substitutes bench under Paul Lambert.
The 19 year old was forced to sit the season out from the middle of February however, due to a stress fracture in his back.
Ronan believes he has shown what he can do and he aims to be a regular in the first team squad next season.
“In the games that I played, I think I can say that I showed glimpses of what I can do in the games where I came off the bench - and in the two or three starts that I had, I think I showed that I can do it at a good enough level,” Ronan said.
“Hopefully I impressed the fans enough for them to want to see me and more importantly, hopefully I impressed the Gaffer enough for him to want to play me but that was last season - next season it all starts again, it starts fresh.
“He’s going to be looking at all the players in pre-season - who’s fit? Who's ready to go? Who’s ready to be playing at the start of the season?
“Hopefully I’ll be back fit for the start of pre-season and I’ll be trying to show him what I can do again.
“All I’ve been thinking about is just getting back fit, not even thinking about what’s going to happen when I get back fit because all that’s been on my mind is that I just want to play football.
“Now I’m back outside, now I’m running and now I’m playing football and kicking a ball again, I’m starting to think that I need to start getting ready for not just pre-season and being fit but I need to start getting ready for the season.
“I want to get better and try and better myself, technically as well - get back training and then hopefully I’ll be getting a place in that first team.
“It’s not just because the experiences that I’ve already had - I’m confident in my own ability anyway that I can play in the first team and the games last season helped me prove that a little bit more.
“This season, hopefully I’ll be in the first team from the start of the season - it will be more of a chance for me to prove myself if I can get a few games on the bounce and get some momentum in my game and get some confidence going.
“Then, I can try and cement my place not only in the first team squad but then try and cement my place in the starting XI as well.”
Ronan has just started running on grass following his three month lay-off.
The midfielder says that coping mentally with the injury is just as important as the physical recovery.
Ronan continued, “When you first pick up an injury, it’s just about getting your head around it.
“When you get told the rough idea of how long you're going to be out, for me it was three months.
“Once you get your head round that, it’s not too bad mentally - I’ve kind of got used to the fact that you’ve just got to get through a period up to a scan and then another period - you’re always working towards doing something else or doing that little bit more.
“Recently I’ve been working towards getting back outside and now I’m working towards getting back fit.
“Mentally, it’s not been too bad - the only thing that is, is missing football.
“It was a lot worse when I was in the gym doing all these exercises, I couldn't really do much, and I was watching the lads training outside - that’s the hardest thing.
“At the minute, it’s only me and Morgan (Gibbs-White) in, so it’s not been too bad - we’re both helping each other out and just getting on with it really.
“The past week, I’ve been back outside running which is my first week outside - I’ve been building up to this week since my injury, before that I’ve been doing a lot of core stability and flexibility.
“A couple of weeks before I went outside, I was in the treadmill just building up trying to get ready to get outside on the grass.
“Since I’ve been back out, I’ve had no problems - I’m feeling fit and I’ve had no problems with the injury either so it’s going well and hopefully I’ll be back for pre-season.”