Holmes Aiming To Flourish In End-Of-Season Run-In
Elliot Holmes has vowed to finish the season with a flourish after a campaign blighted by injury.
The midfielder, who turns 18 early next month, missed a large chunk of the Academy season this term after being diagnosed with a Pars Interarticularis Defect - a growth-related fracture in the spine - back in September.
Following a six-month spell on the sidelines, the second-year scholar made his long-awaited return to action for the Under-18s against Crystal Palace earlier this month.
And Holmes' hard work during his rehabilitation period was rewarded with a step up to the Under-23s earlier this week as Jon Beale's side claimed all three points with a 2-1 victory over Bristol City.
"I'm very happy to be back playing football again after what has been a frustrating time with injury," he said.
"To get 70 minutes for the Under-23s is very pleasing. I think there was room for improvement in terms of my performance though.
"I felt as though I did ok in patches, but I just want to keep going now. I'm looking to improve between now and the end of the season - for both the Under-18s and Under-23s and see where it takes me.
"It's still a learning curve for me - playing at Under-23 level. I need to get use to the physicality of it all. You're coming up against bigger, stronger players and you have to adjust to that quickly, which is exactly what I'm looking to do.
"Obviously because of the injury, I haven't had as many games as I would've liked this season but every game I play between now and the end of the season is an opportunity to improve and develop."
Holmes admits his time on the sidelines was a learning curve, and although he'd rather have been playing football than being stuck on the treatment table, the youngster believes he has benefited from the whole experience.
"It was really hard to be out injured for such a long time. But, having started the season in positive fashion, my desire to get back and reach those levels once again was my motivation throughout my time on the sidelines.
"The whole experience was a real learning curve. Obviously, it was frustrating, but I believe I've improved in other areas and aspects of my game whilst I've been injured, which has to be a positive for me to take."
Reflecting more on the Professional Development League win over the Robins, Holmes believes Jon Beale's side came away with what was a fully deserved three points.
"It was a very good performance on what was a difficult pitch," added Holmes.
"The conditions made it harder for us, but we played really well as a team. We played the game how it needed to be played. We didn't try to overcomplicate anything we did and it worked.
"We came away with what was a fully deserved win. We were the better team on the day and they never really troubled us as a defensive unit.
"Obviously they scored the goal, which came from a mistake from us but, apart from that, I think we controlled the game very well."