Chris Duggan’s career at East Fife could barely even be described as stop/start, the truth is it’s yet to really begin.
The summer signing from Partick Thistle was expected to be the man to fill Nathan Austin’s boots.
But what was thought to be a routine hamstring injury he arrived with, picked up while playing for Queen’s Park where he was on-loan at the end of last season, proved to be a lot more serious, and the striker broke down during the early BetFred Cup games and hasn’t been seen in an East Fife shirt since.
However a trip to see a London specialist at the start of this week has delivered some good news and Duggan has now pencilled in a time frame for a return to the squad.
He said: “I went to the specialist to see how it was progressing and if it would need to be operated on.
“The good news is that it doesn’t so I’m now looking at being back playing by the turn of the year.”
Duggan’s injury, it turned out, was a lot deeper than anyone thought, with the specialist discovering a tear on a tendon in the muscle.
Had the expert not found it, it’s likely the striker would have kept breaking down as it reoccurred.
Despite having only joined the club a few months ago, Duggan says the Fifers couldn’t have done much more for him.
“We were treating this as a normal hamstring injury but it wasn’t,” he said.
“The worst thing before was not knowing exactly what was up but now we’ve got to the bottom of it I’m able to get a date set to be back.
“East Fife have been absolutely great with me and sending me to this specialist means we were able to get it treated and get good to go again.
“It’s not as if I was an East Fife player who has been there a few seasons, it would have been easy for them to say ‘it hasn’t worked out so let’s just forget it’.
“They’ve really supported me with not just the injury itself but personally as well.”
And Duggan aims to repay the club in the best way possible, by getting himself fit and back out on the park as soon as he can.
The 22-year-old is planning an early 2017 return.
“I’ve been to every game this season apart from Stranraer away,” he said.
“I ask Liam Anderson, who records the games, to send me them as well so I can watch the full 90 minutes.
“It’s sometimes hard to watch the games but, now that I’m stepping up my recovery, I can enjoy them a bit more because it won’t be long until I’m back out there playing again.
“It’s been a really frustrating time, especially because we haven’t been winning lately and I know I could be helping that.”
Duggan’s road to recovery will come as a welcome relief for boss Gary Naysmith who lost one of his strikers this week.
Paul McManus has left Bayview due to being unable to juggle his work commitments with East Fife’s match schedule.
Boss Naysmith said: “Paul felt that it wasn’t right to take a wage from the club when he couldn’t totally commit himself to us and I am grateful for his honesty.
“I’d like to personally thank Paul for his contribution to the team since he came in at the end of last season.”