BRANTHAM Athletic midfielder Ethan Abrahams insists there is no chance of compromising his wholehearted style – despite a year and a half of injury hell.

The 18-year-old recently returned after 16 months on the sidelines, having suffered a horrendous knee problem in October 2016.

He suffered anterior cruciate ligament and medial ligament damage and was forced to have surgery last March.

He admits it has been a long, painful journey to regain fitness but recently made his first-team comeback in the Imps’ Suffolk Premier Cup quarter-final against Bury Town.

And despite his experiences, Abrahams – the son of former Colchester United striker and Brantham manager Paul – has vowed not to hold back as he strives to help his club achieve a top-four finish in the Thurlow Nunn League.

“It feels great to be back, after what was a big injury,” he said.

“I was very unlucky because it was such an unfortunate thing to happen.

“It wasn’t as a result of a tackle or anything like that – it was just the way I landed after jumping.

“I don’t think it’s going to affect me or scar me, in terms of the way I play, though.

“It was key to get those thoughts out of my mind straight away.

“If I’d come back with that mindset, I wouldn’t have been able to play properly and would have been more likely to suffer another injury.

“You have to go out there and be wholehearted.

"You have to play your natural game – otherwise you don’t do yourself justice and put yourself at risk again.

“I’ve made sure I go into tackles as I did before and, after the surgery, my knee should be just as strong as it was before – if not stronger.”

Abrahams, who started training four months ago, eased himself back into match action by playing for the Imps’ under-18s.

He scored in his comeback game before signalling his return to first-team availability as a late substitute against Bury.

After such a long spell on the sidelines, he says it feels great to be involved again.

“It’s been a struggle, with lots of rehab and gym work and I’ve been working with our physio,” he said.

“It came at such a bad time for me.

“I was on a good run and had played five or six first-team games in a row.

“Now, finally, I’m back and it’s a good feeling, although it’s been a long time coming.

“It’s been very difficult, mentally as well as physically, but I knew I had to keep focused on the end goal of playing again.

“I just want to get back to playing football.

"That’s what I was made to do and it’s what I love doing.

“Hopefully there’s a lot more to come from me this season and I’m hoping for an injury-free spell.

“What I experienced can happen to anyone and some people have said I should be grateful it happened when I’m younger, rather than older, so I can recover quicker.

“However, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”

Abrahams, a product of Brantham’s youth system, says he has received plenty of support during his time out, not least from proud dad Paul.

“I’ve always looked up to him because of what he achieved,” he said.

“He’s supported me throughout the recovery and although he’s busy with his own football, he got over to my comeback match for the under-18s.

“He’s missed me playing because he knows that’s when I’m happiest.

“Now I want to do whatever I can to help Brantham.

“We had a sticky run of results, although they didn’t reflect performances.

“We were a bit unlucky but before that we were very strong and showed we can compete with any team in the league.

“Now we need to put another run together to solidify our position in the top four.”

Brantham lost 4-0 at Godmanchester Rovers last weekend and have a home date with Great Yarmouth Town at the Leisure Centre on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).