Alfie Rutherford looks to positives after missing Havant & Waterlooville's pre-season with knee injury
Alfie Rutherford is focusing on the bright side of a pre-season knee injury.
The Hawks striker had an operation to remove debris last week – after suffering damage to his kneecap in the opening friendly at Alresford Town.
He is now eager to get his rehabilitation under way ahead of an exciting season at Westleigh Park.
Rutherford scored 15 goals in the National League last term as the Hawks, who continue their warm-up games at Winchester City on Tuesday night, were relegated.
Paul Doswell has since taken the reins, implementing a new training regime and overhauling the squad.
Rutherford, who signed a fresh one-year deal this summer, is determined to play his part as the Hawks seek success in National League South.
And while he is frustrated at picking up his knee injury, he knows the timing could have been worse.
The former Pompey Academy talent said: ‘It wasn’t ideal getting injured first game but on a positive note it is better now rather than the first week of the season.
‘I was crossing the ball with my left foot and my standing foot got caught in the hard ground.
‘My knee went to the left and my kneecap to the right and I chipped a bit of bone.
‘Hopefully I will be able to get back at it in a week or so.
‘I want to get back as soon as I can because it is an important season for the club.
‘The main aim is to get back into the National League.
‘These are exciting times at the club and there is no reason why we can’t give it a good go.
‘Everyone looks sharp and can’t wait to get under way.’
The Hawks begin their National League South charge with a home clash against Welling United on Saturday, August 3.
Rutherford was delighted to make an impact last season – even if the campaign ended in relegation.
And he is keen to build on those performances back in a division he helped the Hawks to win in 2017-18.
Rutherford added: ‘I enjoyed myself in the National League last season even though it was a big step up.
‘It was one I thought I could make and on a personal level it was a good season for me.
‘Getting the number of goals I did was very pleasing.
‘I will be looking to push on and have set myself targets for the season ahead.
‘But we know what this division is like and it won’t be easy.’
With Rutherford and fellow forward Danny Kedwell both injured, Jonah Ayunga has been spearheading the Hawks in pre-season.
Ahead of Tuesday night’s visit to Southern League division one south Winchester, he had scored six goals in four outings.