ANTHONY Forde is feeling good after making a surprisingly quick recovery from a traumatic injury.

Oxford United were cautious about not putting a return date for the Irishman, partly because of the unusual nature of the injury.

An awkward challenge against Shrewsbury Town in December left him with four broken ribs and a punctured lung.

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It was new territory for a medical department used to torn muscles and damaged ligaments.

Forde said: “It was a strange injury.

“I don’t think they’ve seen it in a footballer, but we just took it as broken ribs because the lung heals pretty quickly.

“After that you can start doing a bit of exercise.

“Once I got back doing exercise it was a bit easier for me because that’s what you’re used to doing.

“I’m not in pain (now). Thankfully I haven’t felt it in the last few weeks. Touch wood it stays that way.”

Forde returned as a substitute in Tuesday’s 2-2 draw at Burton Albion, but could be asked to play a bigger role against Sunderland tomorrow.

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He has played as a winger, central midfielder and right back this season, versatility which United badly need with several players ruled out.

And after being a frustrated spectator in recent weeks, Forde knows he has returned at a crucial moment.

He said: “It’s the most important part of the season now.

“We’ve got so many games and we need to pick up some good results, because after February there’s not much left in the season.

“If we get through February with a good few results we should be in a good place.”