It's a gradual road to recovery for Ian Ashbee but the skipper is working as hard as he can to speed up his return to action.
As he continues his rehabilitation from a cruciate ligament injury, 'Ash' is keeping a smile on his face and doing everything he can to make sure that he'll be playing again sooner rather than later. His daily routine on the training camp in Bormio has been every bit just as gruelling as that of the rest of the squad and he seems to be happy with the progress he's making.
"I've had the knee brace off for about a week now and I just need to get the strength back in my leg really," he told www.hullcityafc.net.
"I need to build my quad muscles up and my calf as well, so I've been doing a lot of weights on my leg. The quad muscles keep the knee stable really and I need to make them strong again which will take a few weeks or so. It has been hard work for me out here, even though I'm not running around or doing any aerobic work like the rest of the lads. I'm only working on the one muscle group which fatigues your legs very easily but I've got to keep doing it."
Ian Ashbee does some strengthening work in Bormio
Club-record signing and fellow midfielder Jimmy Bullard has been working alongside Ashbee in Italy as he continues his comeback from a similar injury. The pair have been driving each other on under the watchful eye of physio Simon Maltby and the skipper admits it's helpful to have that company.
"We're doing exactly the same exercises, even though I injured a different ligament to the one Jimmy has," he added. "It does help a lot when there's two of you because if one of us is having a bad day, the other can drive him on and vice-versa. Neither of us have really had one yet but there might come a time when we do and we'll be able to help each other through it."
The question that everybody is asking is when will Ashbee be fit again? Naturally, he's keen not to be too specific, preferring instead to keep his head down and do what's required to regain his full fitness.
"People do ask me but in all honestly I can't give them an answer," he added. "Si (Simon Maltby) would probably know more about that so maybe you should ask him! Joking aside though, I've got to be careful and make sure I get it right in terms of the rehab. I'll only be back playing again when the knee is good and ready."
[Main Picture: Ian Ashbee works with physio Simon Maltby]