GEORGE Blackwood is looking to end the season on a high after revealing the torment he has suffered in not just his first season with Oldham, but also in English football.

The 23-year-old was a September signing from Adelaide United by former boss, and countryman, Harry Kewell.

But the move has not gone to plan, with the striker sidelined for two lengthy spells because of a fractured back.

Blackwood made his return as a second-half substitute at Morecambe and was influential in Latics’ late fightback in the 4-3 defeat, before coming off the bench to wrap up Tuesday’s 3-0 win at Harrogate which guaranteed league football next season. And it is a campaign he is already looking forward to after enduring a tough time in his debut season.

“I had a fracture in my back so I could barely do anything. I was just on the bike trying to keep as fit as possible,” explained the Sydney-born striker.

“Apart from that I couldn’t run, I couldn’t do anything. Then when I came back from that, that increase in load after two months of no running sort of stuffed me up a bit and I had to sit out a bit longer.

“With that injury it was just recover and let it heal and just bide your time. You can’t really do much with it to be fair.”

In addition, all this was happening to Blackwood in the midst of a global pandemic, thousands of miles away from family and friends with no opportunity to fly back and see them.

“It’s been really tough, obviously moving halfway across the world to sort of sit on my couch and do nothing in the gym,” he said.

“It’s been tough but that’s football sometimes, you’ve got to get over it and make sure that you get your body right and come back stronger and that’s what I’ve tried to do with the physios here.”

And the hard work has paid off. Although Blackwood is nowhere near the goals target he set himself when he arrived at Boundary Park, he was pleased with the impact he made at Harrogate, revealing he came off the bench with words of advice and encouragement Keith Curle ringing in his ears.

The Latics head coach told the striker to “close everything down”, before he replaced Conor McAleny in the 72nd minute. And the Australian followed the boss’s instructions to the letter, putting pressure on goalkeeper Joe Cracknell to score in only his second appearance since injury.

“He said that just before I came on actually so it worked out well in the end,” smiled Blackwood of Curle’s pep-talk. “I’m just happy to be back.

“For the rest of the season if I can grab one or two more goals that’s the target but mostly just to be out there, be fit for the last three games and give 100 per cent for the team.

“We want positive results, even though we’re not playing for much.

“After that, have a good summer off and make sure I’m ready to go come pre-season. I think that’s the key for a good season, so I’m looking forward to that.”

He added: “I’ve wanted to be out on the pitch but it’s been a little bit difficult this year. I’ve just got to sort of take it as it comes and get as many minutes as I can before the end of the season and look to have a good pre-season for next year.

“For the rest of the season everything’s a bonus and I’m looking to get a real strong pre-season under my belt and show what I can actually do.”