Gardoș has been sidelined since July after suffering a knee injury at Staplewood and, having been given a prognosis of a seven month absence, he has battled hard to overcome the blow that couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Romania international.
“I was really confident after my first season because the team played great and we finished in a really good position to get into the Europa League,” he recalls.
“Then the main competitor for my place in the team Toby [Alderweireld] left so I was confident, but this shows you can never know what happens in life because sometimes you have accidents like this.”
The 27 year-old has worked extensively with the club’s physiotherapists in that time, and is now putting in overtime at the gym to get back up to speed.
Although he appears to be on track for a return to full training in the next few weeks, Gardoș is not, however, taking anything for granted at this stage of his recovery. The finish line may be close, but if the enforced absence has taught him one thing it’s not to always expect everything to go to plan.
“It should probably be the beginning of February that I join with the team in training and then perhaps another couple of weeks before I get used to playing again and being on the pitch with my teammates,” he outlines with a note of caution.
“It’s quite different actually to now being on your own where I’m working with Bill [Styles, First Team Sports Scientist], so it will take a bit of time to get used to playing again, but I hope it’s going to go as it has done to now because I haven’t really had any problems with the knee, so everything has gone almost perfectly and hopefully it’s going to be OK.”
You can read the full interview with Gardoș inside the West Bromwich Albion edition of SAINTS which is available to buy now from saintsmatchdaymagazine.co.uk and on sale at St Mary’s on Saturday, priced at £4.