Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Andrew Crofts says his contract extension has given him an extra boost – and says he wants to extend his time with the club beyond 2016.
Crofts has signed a 12-month extension, until June 2016, and he is now focusing his efforts on returning to his best after missing six months with an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “My form was good before I had the injury, so I think the extension was on the horizon then, but then I got injured.
“It was a case of getting fit and then speaking about it once I got fit again. I love the club, everyone knows how much I love being here.
“Now I want to focus on getting my match sharpness, building on the games and looking forward to being part of the club for another year.
“I have always had confidence in my own ability. Before I got injured, I was flying so it has been a case of getting fit and proving to the club I was fit.
“My knee has recovered, my recovery time has been really good and everyone knows how hard I work, so it was nice that the club showed me that loyalty by giving me an extra year.
“I had a year left anyway, but it was nice to get that little bit of extra security. It’s all done and dusted and I can now concentrate on football, keep working hard and hopefully be part of a successful two years and hopefully stay beyond that.”
Crofts says that the toughest part of returning after a long spell on the sidelines has been getting his match sharpness back.
“I spoke to a lot of people who’ve had long-term injuries and all of them say getting your sharpness back is the hardest thing.
“Fitness and strength wise, you work as hard as you can to get yourself into a condition where you can get yourself out on the pitch.
“The sharpness, the touches and the movement and seeing pictures in your head, they gradually come back every week and I’m noticing that that’s coming back and like I said, I hope to get back to where I want to be as quick as I can.
“With the help of the boys I feel I can get back quickly, but it won’t be for not working hard. I’m nearly there, I’m just getting to that final bit now.”