Hull City's Jack Hobbs ready to join Tigers' promotion push and be captain again
JACK Hobbs doesn't just have an eye on winning back his place in Steve Bruce's first team – he's also wants his captain's armband back.
The 24-year-old is closing in on a long-awaited return to first-team action after eight months out with a cruciate ligament injury.
And having successfully come through three run-outs with City's reserves, he is determined to lead the first team again.
The impressive Robert Koren has taken on the role of skipper this season in Hobbs' absence.
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But the centre-back is determined to get back where he belongs, in the team, and leading from the front as captain.
"We are coming into a busy period now where injuries and suspensions can play a part, and it's all about being ready to play if called upon," Hobbs told the Mail.
"I have to make sure when I do get an opportunity that I'm ready to take it and be prepared.
"If I have to, then I'll be patient, especially if it means the team is doing well without me, as that is what we all want.
"But the timing of my return, as well as Tom Cairney's, will help bolster the squad and it will keep people on their toes.
"We are in a good position at the minute and we need to keep playing well and picking up points.
"Being captain doesn't mean I'm going to walk straight back into the side. I have to work hard and hopefully it will be sooner rather than later."
Whilst aiming to reclaim possession of his armband, Hobbs admits it is not a discussion he has held with boss Bruce.
But he says it is a responsibility he enjoyed last season, and one he would like to have again.
"As far as I know I'm still club captain," he said.
"I had the captain's armband during my last reserves game and it is something I like.
"I enjoy the responsibility of being captain and hopefully I'll continue having the armband when I get back into the side."
Given the outstanding form of Alex Bruce, Paul McShane and James Chester, as well as competition from Abdoulaye Faye, Hobbs will not be rushed into returning to the squad for tomorrow's trip to Watford.
But, once back in the side, it will bring to an end a frustrating eight-month period, in which Hobbs admits it has been his life away from football which has kept him positive.
He is the first to admit that facing up to, and overcoming, a career-threatening knee injury brought some difficult days. But one thing that got him through the toughest ordeal of his career was the thought of seeing his new-born son, and spending quality time with him in the first weeks of his life.
Hobbs' fianceé Gemma gave birth to Maxwell on September 26, in between City's 3-1 defeats to Leicester and Peterborough, and he credits his son with playing a major part in motivating him back to full fitness.
"Coming home after some very tough days and seeing Maxwell smile put things into perspective," he said.
"Seeing his little smile took my minds off things. It was a blessing for me as I had him to focus on.
"I had phases of my recovery where I felt I was getting places and then time would drag quite a bit. It's like a cliche in that you don't miss it until you haven't got it.
"Sometimes you take it all for granted, just being able to go out and train and kick a ball and play games.
"I had to have as much positive thinking as I could, and our physio Liam McGarry helped me through my rehab. He was brilliant. Now I just can't wait to be back on a Saturday."