Stoke City & Mali striker Mamady Sidibe feared career was over when he ruptured Achilles tendon

The 31-year-old sustained the injury for the second time in his career this February, but is now pushing for a first-team return having not played in over 13 months

Stoke City striker Mamady Sidibe feared his career was over when he suffered a serious injury earlier this year.

In February, the former Swansea City forward ruptured his Achilles tendon for the second time in his career.

However, the 31-year-old, who has not made an appearance for the Potters’ first team in over 13 months, is now pushing for a return to the Premier League side having played for the reserves last week, and is delighted to be back playing football after a tough period.

He told the club’s official website: “When I did it the second time I didn't know what was going to happen.

“It is very rare to do the Achilles twice. The operation was bigger and I was in doubt if I was going to play again.

“It was really difficult but I kept working with the physio and did a lot of work to give me the confidence I could play again.

“Now everything is starting to get back to normal and I am really happy.”

Sidibe was brought to the Britannia Stadium on a free transfer in 2005 after his former club Gillingham were relegated and he opted not to renew his contract.

Potters’ boss Tony Pulis did not forget about the Mali international during his long spell out and named him in his 25-man squad for this season, and the forward hopes to repay the manager’s faith in him on the pitch when given the opportunity.

He said: “That is a very big boost. The gaffer has been great with me since I have been at the club.

“I could just say 'thank you' to him but the only but the only way I can thank him is to play well when he calls me to play.

“That is the only thing I can do but it is very good to be in the squad.”