Midfielder Luke Berry admitted he had been overwhelmed by the level of support received from Hatters fans since suffering his horrific injury against Colchester United in March.
The 26-year-old made a surprise comeback from a dislocated left ankle and a fractured fibula against West Bromwich Albion last week, playing the final five minutes of Luton’s 1-0 Carabao Cup defeat.
It was surreal and that really helped me really want to come on, help them and try to get them cheering again and get us up the league.Luke Berry
Berry was afforded a sensational reception from the 1,175 Luton fans at the Hawthorns when he came on, and speaking afterwards, revealed it had been like that from the beginning.
He said: “Since day one when I had my injury it’s been quite overwhelming.
“I had tweets, I had cards, I’ve never experienced anything like that.
“It was surreal and that really helped me really want to come on, help them and try to get them cheering again and get us up the league.”
Overseeing Berry’s comeback has been physio Simon Parsell, who the midfielder owes a huge debt of gratitude to.
He said: “He’s great and in tough days, he’s there, always chirpy, always joking with me, that does help when you’re in there on your own.
“As 90 per cent of the summer I was in there on my own, just me and Si and Chris (Clark, club secretary), so it helped.
“I’ve been in over the whole of the summer, Simon’s been brilliant with that and the gaffer’s been in as well, keeping me motivated and that’s the main thing.
“If you have a vision and you can see yourself getting back, it’s quite simple.”
One of the exercises that helped Berry the most was on the Alter G, an anti-gravity treadmill, which has aided his bid to come back ahead of schedule.
He continued: “That really helped. I was probably running miles in front of schedule.
“I was only doing 20 per cent of my body weight and it just gets used to running, getting that motion again.
“As when you do something like that, you think when I start walking on it, I should be able to start running on it, but it doesn’t work like that, it takes its time and helped loads for me.”
In typical modest fashion, Berry was quick to praise other for his efforts in which to come back so early from injury too.
He said: “It’s been the gaffer, Simon the physio, it’s not just me, I’ve just done what they’ve told me to do and Chris and Dazza (Darren Cook, kit man) too.
“Everyone’s played their part, from the top to the chairman, I’ve only just done what I’ve been told really, that’s the main thing.
“I’ve always kept a positive mindset about it, people have done it before, people will do it again, it’s just a few ligament back in place and fine.”
On the actual injury itself, which was sickening to witness for all those inside the Colchester Community Stadium on the day, Berry didn’t ever let it get him down too much.
Asked if had many dark days during his rehab, he said: “To be honest, no, I don’t know why, I should really.
“I’ve always thought I can get through things quite well. I’ve had injuries before where I’ve thought I can get through earlier and I have, so it’s just having that mindset really.
“It was a bit of a shock because it (leg) was facing the wrong way and I was holding it up as I didn’t want to put it down, I was just laying on the pitch for ages, that was it really.”
After a brief taster against the Baggies, Berry wants to give his all in getting back in the first team now, saying: “I just want to keep my head down, keep working hard and it’s just me getting the hours on the training ground and getting fit.”
Boss Nathan Jones added: “He needs minutes now, he needs games and to be put in a real testing environment of games.
“It was good to give him some minutes, but now to put him into a league game, where we expect to get big minutes out of him.
“Then he just needs a little bit more time and that’s what we’ll give him now this month.”