TOM EAVES, the Hull City forward, has known dark times in his career.
Hip surgery meant he once missed an entire season before being released by Bolton Wanderers in 2016 to an uncertain future.
“At one point I felt as though the world was against me,” admits Eaves, a summer signing by the Tigers from Gillingham.
At that moment in time I was wondering if I was going to be able to come back from it.Tom Eaves
Eaves, 24 at the time, could have gone the way of many before him by losing faith following that release by Bolton.
Instead, he started to rebuild a career that had featured six loan stints by joining, first, Yeovil Town and then Gillingham.
Forty goals in two years at Priestfield Stadium then saw the Tigers come calling as Eaves was handed a route back to the Championship.
“That was a very difficult year,” said the striker about those final 12 months at Bolton.
“I had a hip problem and, for one reason or another, the operation just got delayed. I knew I needed one.
“I think I would be lying if I said I didn’t have doubts, post-operation. I was lying in bed and if I moved an inch it was, ‘Oh my God’. At that moment in time I was wondering if I was going to be able to come back from it.
“But, once you start rehabbing and gaining momentum, you start focusing on what you want and having goals and ambitions. That is where my energies went.
“No one would touch me because they didn’t know what it was going to be like for me. Yeovil was the necessary step and I just played a full season.
“I didn’t want to be in League Two because I knew I was better than that. It was up to myself to change it and that’s when I took responsibility for myself. I was not pointing fingers at anyone else. I had self-belief and knew what I could do.”
Now, with two starts and an appearance from the bench in City colours to his name, Eaves is looking to push on.
“Brentford will definitely be the toughest test yet,” he added. “But everyone is relishing it after the two results we have had.”