After two seasons of torment for Raith Rovers’ Lewis Vaughan, the 21-year old is hoping to kick on next season.
The highly rated youngster broke into the Raith first team under manager Grant Murray in 2012. But, in August of 2015, Vaughan picked up a nasty injury against Albion Rovers in the Scottish League Cup
“I done my cruciate ligament, which is basically a balancing act in the knee. It snapped – it was painful at the time, so I had to get an operation to get my ACL reconstructed” Vaughan explains.
The forward continues: “I got the operation down in Bradford last year, which Raith Rovers paid for which I am really appreciative of. It was one of the hardest times in my career, probably the hardest thing I had ever done to be honest.”
It wasn’t just physical pain that Vaughan suffered however. The mental aspect of his rehabilitation was hard-going for the youngster.
“At such a young age, it was gutting. When the physio told me what it was, I didn’t even know I had that in my knee! It was very hard, going to the gym myself, everyday, and at 20-years old it was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life, mentally and physically.”
After nearly a year on the sidelines, Vaughan regained full fitness and felt it was a fresh start for him under new manager Gary Locke, this season.
“When a new manager comes in, you want to go back to pre-season as fit as you can and obviously I hadn’t played for the Raith first team in over a year. I went and played every game in pre-season and the first twelve competitive games too. At the start it felt brilliant but in the end I think it took it’s toll on me.”
A thigh strain interrupted Vaughan’s return to action and after a short time on the sidelines, Vaughan found himself on the bench.
“I was patient, trying to get back into the team” Vaughan said. “But it never worked out: I’m not the type of guy who is happy sitting taking money but not playing, I just want to be playing games. I wanted to go out on loan and I think I was clearly stating that.”
However, what transpired saw Vaughan’s Stark’s Park nightmare turn into a horror film as he was placed on loan to league rivals Dumbarton. With Vaughan scoring the all important goal at Tannadice which secured the Sons a vital point to keep them up, it has left Vaughan’s parent club – and his team-mates – in the relegation play-offs.
“The situation with Raith and Dumbarton wasn’t ideal for any player. For a young boy to go out and experience that, it isn’t great, but I am a professional footballer at the end of the day and I needed to do my job for Dumbarton, no matter who it affects.”
With the season now at an end for Vaughan, he hopes for a more settled season at Starks Park next term.
“When the season ended last week, personally I didn’t want it to end because I was hitting form; scoring goals and playing well.”
Vaughan concluded: “I do want to try and kick on now, make a name for myself and go as high in the game as I possibly can: whether that be the Scottish Premiership or Down South. With all due respect to Raith Rovers and Dumbarton, I don’t want to be playing in this league for the rest of my life, I want to test myself as high as I can, if I get that opportunity.”