Hatters defender Johnny Mullins is determined to make up for what he labelled the most ‘frustrating’ season in his football career.
The 31-year-old had a stop start first campaign at Kenilworth Road in 2016/17, with two red cards and then a niggling injury stunting his progress.
The person that I am, I didn’t want to give in, but in the end it just wasn’t right and I just wasn’t doing myself any justice.Johnny Mullins
After returning from a four game suspension for his second dismissal against Wycombe in January, a troublesome hamstring meant Mullins played just four times from February onwards, eventually breaking down at Newport City, ending his season.
Mullins said: “I’ve had long lay-offs, in the sense of five, six months, but never ones when I’ve come back after two weeks and broke down again.
“So it was the most frustrating time of my football career as we just couldn’t get to the bottom of it.
“But what’s done is done and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger so to speak.
“It’s only an injury, not the end of the world, so I put it into perspective, I’m feeling fit now and looking to kick on now.”
On what the injury actually was, Mullins continued: “Something to do with a chrysalis tear in the hamstring area and in the end, it was a real niggly one, so I had to take my medicine, rest and get it right.
“Si (Simon Parsell, physio) and Jared (Roberts-Smith) did me a lot of programmes, strength work and running that have been brilliant for me and I thank them for that.
“Rest was the main thing, they kept telling me you’ve got to switch off, I kept trying and trying and in the end, it just wasn’t right.
“The person that I am, I didn’t want to give in, but in the end it just wasn’t right and I just wasn’t doing myself any justice.
“I had to bite the bullet and it was frustrating as you miss out on all the big games which is what you want to be involved in as a football player.
“But it got the better of me and I’m just glad to be back fit now and hopefully I can contribute this season and help kick us on.”
Mullins could only watch from the sidelines in Luton’s biggest fixtures of the season, as they suffered play-off heartache with a last-gasp defeat to Blackpool in the semi-final at Kenilworth Road.
He admitted it made for tough viewing, saying: “Yes, it was horrible, absolutely horrible.
“I was sat with the boys and the second leg it was horrible.
“We’ve just got to use that as a strength to spur us on and go one better this year which is the aim.”
The ex-Oxford United centre half has made his return during pre-season, showing no ill effects so far, playing a full part in Luton’s warm-up matches.
He added: “It’s really good, I’ve had no issues with the injury so far.
“I’ve come back and had a good break over the summer, worked hard to get everything right and touch wood everything is as good as gold, so I’m just pleased to be back out there running around.
“I’m fully fit, I’ve done everything I can do and feel like I’m up to speed.
“I feel like I’m better when I’m constantly playing games and back into the rhythm of it.
“I just want to get back up to my standards as quick as possible.”