Central Coast Mariners defender Dean Heffernan is on the brink of returning to competitive football.
After breaking his leg last season, Heffernan has endured a torrid run with complications caused by the injury and has not been able to get himself right to compete at the highest level.
That is all about to change as the 28-year old is poised to return via the Mariners youth team.
"It's been tough, really tough," Heffernan said.
"I got back into some pretty intense training in the pre-season and the leg wasn't ready. I thought I was ready but I was probably in a bit of denial.
"I wanted it to be right. As soon as I copped a knock on it in the Pre-Season Cup (against Wellington) I couldn't walk for three or four days.
“The doctor has given me the all clear, it's feeling a lot better," he aded.
Heffernan will be hoping to string a few matches together in a bid to force his way back into the senior eleven.