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Josh Sims relishing long-awaited return to action in new season with Ross County

Josh Sims.
Josh Sims.

Josh Sims hopes Ross County’s patience will bring the best out in him as he prepares for a long-awaited return this season.

Former Southampton winger Sims joined the Staggies in February, at a point when he was still recovering from a string of health and medical complications he has suffered throughout the last 18 months.

Sims initially felt fatigue and lethargy after contracting Covid during a loan spell with Doncaster Rovers in January 2021, before suffering stomach issues which were subsequently diagnosed as ulcerative colitis.

He went on to suffer an inflammation of the heart, in a rare side-effect of the medication used to treat the bowel condition.

Following extensive testing and fresh medication, Sims has been slowly nursed back to fitness by the Staggies’ backroom and medical staff.

The 25-year-old is full of praise for the way his situation has been managed by the Dingwall outfit, and he is eager for action after being part of County’s high temperature pre-season training camp in Verona.

Sims said: “The club have been absolutely amazing. They could easily have chucked me in at the earliest opportunity.

Josh Sims.

“One of the big reasons I wanted to come up here was because I felt a connection when I first spoke with the manager and staff.

“They always said they wouldn’t rush me back because of what I had gone through.

“That was a big thing for me. With everything I had been through in that year, I didn’t want a load of pressure put on me to jump back into playing instantly.

“That could have complicated things as well, as I could have got injured again.

“There is loads more to it than just chucking me back in. The way they have gone about it has been amazing.

“This pre-season I’m now fully fit, and I can just focus on this season. I can’t speak highly enough of how they have treated me.”

Winger grateful for chance to settle in

Sims feels making the switch to County prior to the end of the campaign was an important step for him, in integrating with his new team-mates.

The former England under-20 international said: “When I came in February, that period to the end of the season was just purely about meeting the team and getting to know the players and staff.

Josh Sims.

“My sights were really set on this pre-season. It’s my first one for a while which is nice, even if it’s horrible.

“But it’s good to get the hard work in because we will reap the rewards for it later on down the line once we get the season going.

“It’s not easy though, for sure.”

County debut a big step for Sims

Sims made his first outing for the Staggies on the final day of the season, with manager Malky Mackay playing him for the last 38 minutes of the 2-1 defeat to Dundee United.

That appearance has provided Sims with a psychological boost ahead of the new campaign, adding: “It was massively important. I was fit, and I was selected to play for all the split games.

“Coming into the end of the season, knowing I had played 40 minutes in that last game definitely helps psychologically.

“It puts me in the mindset that I know I can get back playing.

Josh Sims in action for Southampton in 2019.

“That was a big thing for me. Going back to the start of the season, all the doctors and staff that treated me said it would be good to go and play this season.

“That was always my target. They didn’t say I wouldn’t play, but they said it would be tough by the time I got back and got my fitness.

“For me to play that game was a big thing for me personally.

“I found it hard, don’t get me wrong, because it was a long time out. I’ve been virtually a whole year without playing.

“It was good to be back out on the pitch for sure.”

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