ROB Dean hasn’t given up hope on one day defying the doctors but the injured Chippenham Town midfielder is prepared to be patient on his long road to recovery.

Dean was told by surgeons he would never play football again after the horrific knee dislocation he suffered against Hungerford Town in March.

The 24-year-old returned to Hardenhuish Park for the first time since his injury for Monday’s game against Hungerford and was honoured with the supporters’ player of the year award and £1,000 to aid rehabilitation.

Dean’s teammates also clubbed together to buy him a video game console, with the team also wearing warm-up T-shirts emblazoned with his nickname and squad number.

“The amount of people that came up to me to wish me all the best was surprising really – you don’t really get the chance to speak to as many people when you’re playing, so it’s really nice,” said Dean, who lives in Swindon.

“I’m still getting messages through and when you’re sitting down all day, it’s nice to know that people are there for you. I knew (my injury) was a bad one when I was in hospital and I was just eager to know what the chances were.

“A friend had similar one and he played again but I kind of knew that mine was a bit worse, with the way that they were talking about it.

“They said at hospital that they wouldn’t be able to tell me until after the second op but once they revealed the news, it was really hard to take and that was a bad day.

“In the few days after that, I came to terms with it a bit and I didn’t really accept it but I just wanted to get on with walking and not thinking about playing.

“It’s so far away anyway, so there was no point in really thinking about it. I want to get myself walking and month-by-month, set myself little targets.

“Then you never know – people have proven surgeons wrong and hopefully, down the line, I can be one of them. Never say never.”

Dean, who joined Chippenham from Swindon Supermarine last November, had scored seven goals before his season was cut short and the midfielder says that he was surprised to be given the ‘player of the season’ nod from the Bluebirds fans.

He said: “It’s nice but also surprising to be honest.

“I felt that I did okay but I thought I could’ve done better. I scored a few goals along the way, which helped, but I thought there were others that have done really well this season, like Griff (Alan Griffin), Guths (James Guthrie) and Tinds (Greg Tindle).”