Bolton Wanderers winger Dennis Politic said it is ‘unbelievable’ to make a return from injury after almost a year our but knows he will have to be patient as he seeks a regular place back in the first team.

The 21-year-old made his long awaited return for Wanderers from a serious knee injury over the weekend when he came on in the second half of the pre-season friendly victory against Barrow.

Politic picked up the injury last pre-season in a friendly against Loughborough University and has been on the rehabilitation trail since then.

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He rejoined first team training towards the end of last season, but did not feature for Bolton at all in in their promotion winning campaign out of League Two.

But the winger is pleased to be back and given an insight into how his religion, family and the club have helped him on his route back to the Wanderers first team.

He said: “It felt unbelievable. It was a really happy moment for me.

“I’m grateful, it’s so good to be back after a year out.

“It has been a tough injury and the fans have been brilliant with me, supported me all the way. I want to thank them for that and for the reception that I got.

“As soon as the injury happened the hardest work is in the mind. There was a way back, people have done it before, but the acute phase after the operation is the toughest point because that is when you get pain, sleepless nights, and then as you get through it you start getting used to being injured.

“You see little signs of process, getting off the crutches, then you are back jogging, then you are back with the team. You see light at the end of the tunnel.

“My faith in God has been a rock, it has been most important. My family, my girlfriend, they have helped me so much, and staff, team-mates, and the supporters have all helped me along the way so I am happy to be back. Hopefully now I can get into the team and start producing.”

Politic believes the day he suffered the injury was the worst of his life so far and missing a year’s worth of action is far from ideal, particularly given how the club and squad has transformed under Ian Evatt over the past 12 months.

The winger admits it will take time to get back up to his best after a long time out and he faces great competition in the forward areas of the pitch.

But it was a confidence boost for him to return to training towards the end of last season and helped him get ready for this upcoming campaign.

The winger said: “I can say it was the worst day of my life so far. It was obviously my biggest injury, and I know I am only young, but I do think everything happens for a reason.

“It was a challenge, it was tough to get through it, but by the grace of God I did get through to the other side. I am feeling strong now, ready to go.

“That’s the thing, being a year out isn’t easy, it is a long time being off the pitch.

“A new manager has come in, there are loads of new team-mates that I haven’t had chance to play with yet, so I need to get back into the rhythm of playing and be patient.

“I can’t expect to come back and be as sharp as I was before, I need to build fitness up and make sure I don’t get injured again.

“The team were great last season, I was gutted I couldn’t be a part of it and help them.

“They got promotion, so credit to every single one of them, credit to the manager for getting them over the line. I am looking forward to helping them now.

“There is a lot of talent in this team, in the attacking roles especially.

“We enjoy ourselves in training, work as hard as possible, then whoever the manager picks on the day, or whoever comes on from the bench, they have to give their best.

“It was a great confidence boost for me. I think I trained with about two weeks of the season left and slowly built back in, I didn’t just jump in for a full session.

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“When pre-season started I knew I could be back, full fitness, no problems.

“It takes mental strength and thanks to the support I have had from my family, I managed to get there.”

Politic has experience of playing in League One, having played 30 times for Wanderers in all competitions during the 2019/20 campaign.

The Romanian is not afraid of the division and knows he can play at that level and believes Wanderers have the potential to repeat their promotion feat of last season in the upcoming campaign, believing Bolton will be one of the favourites.

He said: “I am not afraid, I have played League One before and I know I can do it. I just need to get back to full fitness now and get as much game time under my belt and then the confidence comes back with every minute.

“We are one of the favourites, for sure. I don’t think Bolton are a League One club, they are bigger than that.

“I know there have been financial problems in the past but the boys got them from League Two to League One, so why can’t we get back-to-back promotions?”

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