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Page last updated at 14:19 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 15:19 UK

Carlisle man reveals fitness goal

Marc Bridge-Wilkinson
Bridge-Wilkinson missed the last five months of the season

Carlisle United midfielder Marc Bridge-Wilkinson has set himself a gruelling challenge to regain fitness after his comeback from a painful toe injury.

The knock forced the former Derby midfielder to miss the second half of last season but he made his return in Saturday's 3-1 win against Workington.

"I had my time off with my operation, I started running on the last day of the season" he told BBC Radio Cumbria.

"Pre-season is where I have to top it off and show the boss that I'm fit."

The 30-year-old admitted it was difficult to come to terms with an injury that allowed him to live most of his life without impact, yet still seriously affected his ability to play football.

"From a personal point of view it's great to get my first 45 minutes of football in six months, it's nice to get back out there," he said.

"I had a cartilage injury in my toe, there was a tear but they can't heal the cartilage, to get to it they had to drill the bone and make the bone bleed to knit the cartilage together which is why it took so long, you have to wait and let it settle down.

"It was embarrassing, you're walking around quite normally, getting on with things and people say 'what's wrong?' and you say 'oh it's my toe.'

"The first instinct is people laugh and ask what's really wrong, so it's difficult but hopefully that's behind me now."

The Coventry-born playmaker joined Carlisle from Bradford in June 2007 on a free transfer and has made 68 league appearances, scoring 11 goals.

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