As the son of former world showjumping champion Derek Ricketts and nephew of legendary jockey John Francome, Bolton's Sam Ricketts is used to the concept of clearing obstacles.

Thankfully, he is now over his biggest hurdle after making a successful comeback from the major Achilles tendon injury he suffered 11 months ago. The 30-year-old Wales international never lost faith while injured and working under the guidance of UK Athletics' Performance Therapist Gerry Ramogida, Ricketts' career is happily back on track again.

"There were times when it was hugely frustrating," said Ricketts. "Any little hindrance was unsettling. The plus side for me was that it fell between seasons. I went to America for a week and did some rehab out there and from July onwards I worked with UK Athletics."

He added: "Once I met Gerry, I never had any doubts. He just filled me with confidence.

"He told me I would come back fitter than I was before, which was one of my big things. I wanted to be fitter, quicker and stronger than before I got injured."

It sounds like the script of Six Million Dollar man.

However, for any professional sportsman, who relies on their body so much, there can be no acceptance of second best.

And when Ricketts eventually made it back, on New Year's Eve against Wolves, an occasion he marked with the opening goal in a 1-1 draw at the Reebok Stadium, the release was tangible.

"I tried to put it to the back of my mind but now I am back playing it has triggered all the old memories," he said.

"You remember how good it is and the feeling after a game when you have pushed yourself to the physical limit, the euphoria you feel after a win and that sense of satisfaction and achievement after a game. You can't replicate that."

Source: PA