City skipper Hanley hoping his injury woe is over after double surgery
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Grant Hanley had to dig deep during his first match in almost four months but the Norwich City skipper is hopeful his injury woes are now behind him.
The Scot's movement was restricted during the early stages of the season but he played through the pain due to an injury crisis, before finally having to give way to groin and hernia surgeries.
Having returned to training earlier this month, the 28-year-old was back in action on Saturday after fellow centre-back Ben Godfrey was ruled out for around six weeks with a knee injury - and was one of City's best performers in a frustrating 2-1 home loss to Wolves.
"Obviously I wasn't expecting a chance this early to get back into the team but I've worked hard and my chance came along," the Scotland international explained.
"I felt good for probably 80 minutes and I think the break killed me, when the referee's earpiece went or whatever it was, standing still for a few minutes.
"But I felt good and I felt better than I did at the start of the season, let's put it that way!"
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Hanley was signed from Newcastle for around £3.5million in August 2017 and went on to finish as runner-up behind James Maddison in the Player of the Season voting for 2017-18.
"I ended up having a couple of surgeries," he continued. "I was kind of hanging on in there and was nowhere near 100 percent but the timing and the situation was that we had no one else to play centre-half, so I never really had a choice.
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"Obviously it was my chance to get in the team as well and I wanted to take it. Fingers crossed, hopefully, I'm past that now and I can move forward and get fitter and sharper as the games go on."
City's captain is now desperate to reclaim an influential role, partnering Christoph Zimmermann against Wolves, with Timm Klose also out with a knee injury, until March.
"It's the Premier League, you want to play every week," Hanley added. "We've got competition at centre-back, even though we've got injuries.
"Zimbo was obviously unbelievable last season and he's done unbelievable when he's played this year, Ben's got a massive future ahead of him, but it's healthy competition and that's only going to make us all better players."