Crawley Town star is back stronger than ever and he is ready to start and help Reds climb the League Two table
If you had gone through what Reece Grego-Cox has in the past two years, you would struggle to find the positives.
To be fair, all of us would struggle to find positives from the past two years.
But just before the first lockdown, the 25-year-old received ‘the worst news a footballer could be told’ (see Reece’s social media) after finding out he ruptured his ACL and MCL.
It meant a long period on the sidelines for Reece. Then the pandemic hit and we were in lockdown.
And at the time Reece’s fiancée Megan was expecting their first child – a baby boy called Ellis.
And that’s where Reece has found the positives.
“It all came in one hit,” said Reece. “It was really stressful because I wasn’t able to move around but at the same time it was quite nice because I got to spend near enough a whole year with him [Ellis].
“If I was fit and playing and the season carried on I would have been away at weekends and training every day and missing out on that quality time.
“In a way it was a dark time because of the injury and how long it has taken me to get fit but also on the other hand there were the positives of spending a whole year with my boy.
“That was really nice and I don’t think you can ever get that time back so I am grateful for that.”
He was full of praise for his fiancée for helping him get through the past two years. He said: “Megan’s been fantastic. When I first got the injury and wasn’t able to move she was heavily pregnant, she helped me a lot.
“My parents and Megan’s parents have all been great.
“She’s been amazing to be honest, having to look after me as well as our boy.”
The injury kept the winger out of action for 620 days before he returned to action against Southampton u21s in the EFL Trophy in November.
Since then he has made other substitute appearances as well as starting in a friendly and playing 65 minutes. And now he believes he is as strong as he has ever been and is ready for more minutes - but he trusts John Yems to do what’s best for him.
He said: “The gym work I have put in, I am probably the strongest I have been in the gym, the lower body feels strong.
“The training sessions took time to get where I was before the injury and build the confidence up.
“Today [Thursday of last week] I felt confident. We did a small game in training and it was good.
“But like I say, if I can get more game minutes under my belt and I might be able to get where I was before my injury.
“I’ve trained and been fit for months now but obviously the gaffer has taken his time with me to make sure I am 100% fit and ready.
“He wants to look after me because I had a massive injury and he just wants to look after me and not take any chances.
“So I have been coming on for 10 or 15 minutes here and there and I think the longest stint I have had on the pitch has been about 30 minutes.
“We are building up the minutes slowly but I would like to get more minutes. Any player would like to get as many minutes as they can because a game scenario is a lot different to training.
“I would like more minutes in the New Year and then build from there.”
Reece was full of praise for Yems and said he was ‘a good man to play for’.
“He lets the players express themselves,” he said. “He doesn’t put too many restrictions on the way they play.
“That’s a good thing because the attacking players like myself can express themselves and do the magic, as such. He says it like it is and I think honesty is the best way in football and in life.
“The players do not take anything to heart and I think that is where the morale comes from because everyone is on the same page and that has come from the gaffer.
“He is a good man to play for and obviously I would like to play a bit more for him.”