When Lewis Turner first felt a niggling ankle injury in pre-season training back in July, little did he know it would force him into a major operation and months on the sidelines.

The good news is that the versatile defender last night finally returned to the training pitch with some light jogging and exercises – and he’s targeting a return to full first team training either at the end of December or early January.

He’s the first to admit it’s been a difficult time for him: “Any footballer will tell you it’s frustrating when all you want to do is get on the pitch, help the lads and get back playing – but they’ve done really well this season so far. With the quality of players we have, we don’t want to be looking over our shoulders, we should be looking to the top half of the table and maybe even sneaking into the playoffs”

Rewind to the sunnier and warmer times of July, and the ankle niggle turned out to be something a lot more serious.

“The injury just didn’t get any better,” said Lewis, 31. “We tried injections and those didn’t help. I went to see a specialist, and you do wonder how a chronic injury is going to affect your ability to come back and what the outcome will be. But the consultant I saw was great and gave me a good per centage of being able to come back pain free.”

Lewis Turner is pictured signing his new contract with director of football Pav Singh back in May.

Seven weeks ago Lewis went under the knife for a variety of treatments to try sort out his ankle and stabilise his ligaments.

“It was quite a big procedure, I had a bit of the bone shaved away as well. I had a few weeks in plaster and then in a protective boot.

“I’m looking forward to building up in the next few weeks so I can start full training again. It’s going to take a lot of time for me to get fit and it is important that I take it steady. I’m keen to make up for lost time. It’s been difficult stuck on the sidelines watching on but I’ve tried to contribute in the dressing room and cheer them on from the stands.”

Lewis said he was grateful for the support of the club. “And the lads haver been great too, so I haven’t felt too isolated while I’ve been injured. I’ve tried to stay as connected as I can and even though I’m not playing at the moment I still have a part to play.

“Having an injury like this makes you realise how much you miss the game when you can’t play.”

As for 2024, getting match fit and getting back out on the pitch is Lewis’s main aim.

“It’ll be a challenge fitness-wise as I’ve not kicked a ball all season, but I’d like to get back in the team and help them finish as high as possible.

“The lads are on a good run and are unbeaten in five games. That takes some doing but it’s a really tight league this year and anybody can beat anybody on the day – once I’m fit I know I’ll have to work hard to get into this team, all the lads have done fantastically well so far.

“We’re coming up to the winter months and a lot of teams won’t fancy coming to Farsley. Traditionally that’s when we get a lot of our points, which should stand us in good stead. With the quality of players we have, we don’t want to be looking over our shoulders, we should be looking at the top half of the table and maybe even sneaking into the playoffs.”

Lewis says he’s been at Farsley for around five seasons now – he also spent a season at Scarborough – and couldn’t be more settled here.

“It’s a homely club, a lot of the players have known each other for years, the supporters are great and it’s a tightly knit place. I have to take it easy given the injury, but I can’t wait to start playing for us again in 2024.”