Simon Cox raring to get back to work with Nottingham Forest following unwanted holiday
IT turns out there is a secret to Simon Cox's remarkable return from injury – and his Nottingham Forest team mates are very keen to let the world know all about it.
As the fit again striker talks enthusiastically about a potential return to action at Watford on Saturday, the other players slowly file past at the training ground.
And most seem keen to mention the same subject...
"Ask him about Dubai!", says one. "See what he has to say about his holiday", adds another.
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For the second time this season, Cox has demonstrated rapid healing powers, as an ankle injury that was expected to see him sidelined for two months or more is shaken off in barely three weeks.
And he revealed: "When I had the scan results and it seemed as though it was going to be a long time out for me, there was not much I could do here. There are only so many weights you can lift, so much ice you can put on.
"So I was allowed to go away for a week and get some sun, which was nice, because it was cold over here.
"I took a couple of machines with me. I took crutches, a special boot and a machine that electronically exercises your thighs so that they don't diminish while you are out.
"I was doing that two or three times a day... when I had finished sunbathing. They say the sun heals people quite quickly, I hear..."
While his impromptu holiday might have earned him a few jealous glances in the dressing room, it also seemed to do the trick.
Having collected what was thought to be a serious injury on November 24, Cox was back in action by the second week of December.
"It is quicker than I expected. I always say to myself that, if it feels okay, I am happy," said the striker. "I have to manage things, I have to monitor things carefully in training.
"But hopefully I will be in contention to be selected on Saturday.
"As long as I have no adverse reactions, I should be fine – and I have not had any so far. I felt as though I could have got on last weekend, but I had not trained with the team.
"I was doing fitness stuff with the physios, working on changing direction and things like that, at the end of last week.
"Maybe if I'd had another few days, I could have been involved, but it was just a little too early."
It is the second time Cox has bounced back quickly, having previously suffered a scare when he collected what was feared to be a broken foot while on international duty.
At that point, Forest feared he was looking at several weeks on the sidelines – but he instead returned after two days.
"It is just one of those things. My feeling is that, if an injury feels okay, I will push myself. If it hurts, I will come off it," he said.
"The first injury I had, after international duty, was like that.
"When I had the scans following that, they said I hadn't broken anything or seriously damaged anything.
"So I came back to training. I don't like to miss matches."
Cox had travelled to Brighton on Saturday, in the hope of being involved.
He ultimately had to watch from the sidelines as Forest battled for a 0-0 draw. But he was encouraged by what he saw.
"First half, we were not great but, in the second, we were much better," he said.
"If we had gone 1-0 up when Billy hit the bar or when Reidy had a chance, we might have got the win.
"We did not play well, but we still got the point. If you are not playing well and still picking up points, then that is the sign of a good side.
"We are nearly at Christmas and we have only lost five games, that is not too bad. Yes, we have probably drawn too many.
"But our record is good, when you consider that we have only been together, as a squad, for four or five months.
"Everyone would love to be top of the league, sitting with 40 points at Christmas. But we are a brand new team.
"I think we have done really well, we just have to keep that going."
Cox admitted that Forest's players have discussed what has been achieved at Brighton, during three years under Gus Poyet.
"We were having that chat as a team... Brighton have been together for three years.
They have a way of playing," he said. "We have chopped and changed everything – manager, owners and players.
"We are all trying to get a way of playing, our own approach, in the same way as Brighton have done.
"We have different dimensions to us; we have different strengths.
"They do not have a player like Dexter, for example.
"But we do not have a player like Will Buckley, who has incredible pace down their right side.
"If we can gel everything together, if we can play to our strengths and keep churning out improving performances, there is no reason why we cannot be a force to be reckoned with."
The events of a remarkable summer and the work Forest have done in the transfer market since the summer have only raised expectation levels again.
But while the club's supporters and owners alike may have one eye on the Premier League, Cox insists that ambition is shared in the dressing room.
"We can achieve those expectations, given time," he said. "The manager got the job and then had to come up with a backroom staff and everyone behind the scenes.
"He then had to go after players. He had to integrate those players into the team, they have to get settled in Nottingham and then we have to start playing as a team.
"It is a long process and, how well we have done is going unnoticed, I think, in many quarters – but certainly not among the lads."
If Cox is right then, come the end of the season, the sun should be shining on the entire Forest squad.