'Excited' Kris Welham to end seven months of injury agony in Hull KR clash with Wigan
HULL KR vice captain Kris Welham is 'itching' for his return to rugby this weekend after seven months of injury misery.
The 25-year-old hasn't played since breaking his ankle against Catalan Dragons last July, the first serious injury of his playing career.
Months of rehabilitation followed, bringing long lonely days of rest, before stepping up his training ahead of his return.
And the former Myton Warriors man says he will have mixed emotions when stepping out to face Wigan in this Sunday's pre-season friendly at MS3 Craven Park.
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"I'm feeling excited and nervous at the same time," Welham told the Mail.
"I'm looking forward to the game, if I'm selected, because I am itching to get back playing again.
"I feel I'm ready to play 80 minutes, but it depends on what the coach wants.
"It's been a long time since I lined up with the boys and it has also been a very long pre-season for me.
"But I'm a step closer to putting my injury hell behind me and, hopefully, that will be it for me with injuries for a long time."
Welham says his ankle has felt fine throughout pre-season, but he accepts it may take a while for his self-belief to be fully restored.
"I just need to get my confidence in my ankle back up. I'd say I'm about 90 per cent confident in my ability to play and 10 per cent worried about the ankle," he admitted.
"But as soon as I get my first carry and tackle out of the way, I reckon I'll be fine.
"This has been the first serious injury of my career and for two months I was sat at home doing nothing.
"That's not like me, because I like to be around the lads and when I finally got back training I was happy.
"I just want to get through Sunday's game and carry on from where I left off before I picked up the injury."
Welham had been in fine form for the Robins last season. He was Rovers' leading try scorer with 13 in 18 Super League games when he suffered the injury, early in a 13-10 home loss to the Dragons.
Rovers' season went downhill from that stage onwards, eventually falling short of making the top eight and the play-offs.
But with a host of new faces in the ranks this time around, Welham is confident the Robins can enjoy a successful campaign.
However, he is expecting a tough test from Wigan, even though last year's Minor Premiers were beaten 30-6 by Leigh last weekend.
Former Robins prop Scott Taylor lined up in a very young Warriors side and Welham says a tough clash lies in wait when his former team-mate makes his return to east Hull.
"I'm expecting Wigan to be a lot tougher this time, because they played a lot of kids at Leigh," he said.
"They will probably field a much stronger side when they come to us.
"We will be looking to put into practice some of the things we have been working on in pre-season."