CRUTCHES that have taken away an aspect of Dion Conroy’s independence could be removed next week, and Swindon Town’s club captain revealed work towards a full recovery is progressing better than expected.

Almost seven weeks have passed since Town’s star defender tore his medial collateral ligament (MCL) following a 50-50 lunge to win possession with Newport County skipper Joss Labadie.

Since going under the knife at the start of October, Conroy has returned to live temporarily with his parents and is unable to drive until January.

In addition, the 23-year-old also must wear a brace – day and night – for a further two months.

But speaking to the Adver on Thursday, Conroy said he is targeting a return to full-time training before the conclusion of Town’s 2019-20 League Two campaign.

He said: “I’m progressing every day - the pain is going.

“Hopefully I can look forward to being able to train towards the end of the season, and maybe even play a couple of games.

“It’s probably the worst pain I’ve had in my life. I’ve been on a lot of painkillers, but things have calmed down in the last 10 days and the pain is going.

“I hope to be able to do leg strength work with the brace on, but at the moment I cannot use my hamstring.

“Tuesday is a big day, I hope I can get the crutches off and start to go to the gym and build my leg up. I want to be ready to hit the ground running once I get my brace off.”

Temporarily losing his ability to drive means Conroy has relied heavily on his support group to access physio sessions and Town’s four home games that have occurred since the injury.

He quickly thanked his parents, brothers, physio and staff at the football club for their support during his recovery.

Mentally, however, it would seem this injury blow hasn’t been as challenging as his last.

In September 2017, Conroy suffered significant knee ligament damage that ruled him out for the remainder of the year - he made his reappearance on the opening day of the 2018-19 season under Phil Brown.

Conroy explained: “Last time was quite a depressing period for me.

“I had a double operation with a dislocated shoulder, and I was a bit depressed – I didn’t know how to handle things.

double operation with a dislocated shoulder and I was a bit depressed – I didn’t know how to handle things.

“But knowing I know what to do and that carrot of being back before the end of the season has granted me a lot of motivation.

“I’m keeping my spirits high.”