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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Thursday, March 8th 2018

Hegeler helps Under-23s to victory

Jens Hegeler captained City Under-23s to victory this week - his first return to the pitch for five months.

A knee injury has prevented the defender from featuring in the first team, with his last appearance coming in the 3-0 Championship defeat to Leeds United on October 21st.

But he started for Luke Williams' Academy side against Charlton Athletic on Wednesday (March 7), getting an hour under his belt as he looks to return to full fitness.

He was replaced in the second half and stayed to watch on from the sidelines, as the young Robins beat the Addicks 2-1 to top Group G in the Premier League Cup.

Speaking after the game, Hegeler said: "I feel tired but I am really happy. It’s been a while since I last played - four-and-half-months so I am really happy that I was able to play for an hour with the U23s.

"It’s hard to tell [where I am in my recovery]. I have trained twice with the first team now, I have played once for the U23s so it is isn’t that much.

"But every minute on the training pitch, whether that’s in a game or training, is perfect for me. It helps me and I’m trying my hardest to get back to 100% as soon as possible.

"I’ve been spending a lot of time in the gym, that’s a major part of my rehab. I am in the gym day in, day out, working on mobilisation abilities as well. It’s very different being in the gym so it’s good to get out here and play and I am very happy to have done that."

The U23 had already qualified for the first of the knockout rounds of the cup, where they take on Swansea City, and Hegeler believes he could be playing alongside the City youngsters in the first team in the future.

"We have a good group of young, talented players here," he said.

"I enjoyed playing and we got another win so that was perfect. They are a good bunch and hopefully we will see some of them in the first-team at some stage."