Bradley Dack is approaching six months since sustaining his anterior cruciate ligament – but has used that time to become ‘a proper athlete’, recording better physical data than ever before.

Dack’s season was cruelly ended by injury in the 0-0 draw with Wigan Athletic on December 23 and there were fears he would miss much of 2020.

However, the 26-year-old has thrown himself in to his rehabilitation, even despite the difficulties created by Covid-19, and put himself in a position to be back out on the grass.

The 10-goal attacker will step up his work in the coming weeks but is targeting a return to action when the 2020/21 season gets underway, mooted to be the middle of September.

He has pushed his body to improve his physical data at every juncture, feeling ‘more powerful’ and ‘quicker’, admitting: ‘I feel I can run for longer and more efficiently’.

Recording better results has become something of an addiction to Dack who has worked closely with first-team physio Ollie Waite.

Right from the off Dack says he wanted to use the time effectively, cutting no corners, and believes that mindset is paying off.

“It all goes back to the frame of mind from the start. Me and the physios saw it as the time to become a proper athlete in the space of nine months, rather than an injured player," Dack explained.

“I’ve not seen it as someone who’s injured my anterior cruciate ligament and will spend nine months rehabilitating.

“The knee has been fine the whole way through, there have been no problems or reactions.

“The surgeon’s been surprised by more scores and he’s said that he has no worries. He wants to see me again just as I’m about to return to training, just to check me over.

“That’s really good to hear when you’ve worked so hard."

He added: “The aim is to be in the squad for the first game of next season.”

In 10 weeks’ time Dack will return to see his surgeon and hope to get the all-clear to move towards full training once again.

That would make a return for the start of next season ambitious, but nothing should be ruled given the progress the attacking midfielder has made.

And to hear Dack speak so enthusiastically about his return will excite Rovers who are eager to see the star man in action once again.

He told the club website: “The whole process has excited me really. Hopefully there will be people who will watch me when I come back playing and be blown away by the work that’s gone into the previous nine months."

“I think with that in mind, it’s changed my outlook on things now. I feel so much stronger than I ever was before, in every aspect.

“All the testing we’ve done, the results show that I’m in better physical shape than I ever was when I was fully fit.”