DION Conroy has marked Swindon Town manager Richie Wellens and his assistant Noel Hunt as two key men behind his return to full confidence in his playing and physical ability.

Rewind 12 months, and the Surrey-born defender was still stuck in the cycle of mentally recovering from a knee injury he sustained at the start of Town’s first campaign of their current stint in League Two.

Still driven to succeed – but ultimately a step behind his team-mates’ levels of fitness – the 23-year-old developed a plan with Wellens and Hunt to overcome his psychological blocks that were ultimately holding back his development.

Now, fresher than ever, Conroy is preparing to play in his 24th successive League Two fixture in red.

Ahead of kick-off, he praised – and, to an extent, thanked – the help offered by the Town management staff.

Conroy said: “It wasn’t even 50-50 challenges where my mental block came in, it was every step I took.

“It was a horrible thing, and if you talked to anyone who has done the same injury, they will tell you the same. It was a major thing for me to overcome that injury.

“And I put a lot of my recovery down to Richie. I’m happy to be playing football regularly now.

“I’m buzzing, and the team is doing well too. Noel (Hunt) has been huge in my recovery too.

“There’s a very good vibe at the club right now. There are no levels of bad energy or any bad eggs around.

“Swindon Town is in a good place right now.”

The ex-Chelsea centre-back now feels in an appropriate place to develop his personal game, having overcome an 11-month absence.

While he was sidelined for just under a year, the Town skipper admits erasing his knee tweak from memory took at least another seven months.

With time spent in the treatment room well behind him, Conroy wants Town’s upcoming home fixtures against Macclesfield Town and Colchester United to act as a launchpad for the club’s aim to win promotion.

“The start of last season was very tough. I was just coming back from my knee injury and I’d been out for 11 months,” said Conroy.

“I say 11 months, it was more an 18-month injury as I wasn’t right in my head.

“Lots of things were going on in my head mentally.

“But I now feel I’m at a level where I was before the injury, and I want to kick on from here and push myself further.

“The manager has a lot of faith and trust in me. Hopefully playing every week can help me to improve and help the team earn three points.”