LONDON, Nov 16, Bermuda forward Justin Donawa has returned to competitive action with English fifth-tier club Solihull Moors after being sidelined for nearly 11 months with a serious ankle injury.
The 26-year-old, who came on as a 75th-minute substitute in a 3-0 defeat away to Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday, has spoken of his relief at finally being able to play again.
“Not the result we wanted [at Dagenham], but I’m beyond thankful to have played my first bit of football after nearly 11 months out,” said Donawa, who was omitted from the Solihull squad for the FA Cup first-round replay away to Hartlepool United on Tuesday night.
Hartlepool advanced after winning 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in regulation and extra time.
“It hasn’t been the smoothest of journeys, but I’m coming back stronger than ever,” Donawa, a cricketer and a triple jumper while growing up in Bermuda, added.
Having made an encouraging start to last season, scoring twice in 16 appearances for Neal Ardley’s side in all competitions, Donawa’s campaign was cut short after he suffered a fractured distal fibula in his ankle at Eastleigh last December.
Solihull, currently sixth in the National League table, narrowly missed out on promotion to League Two, going down 2-1 after extra time against Grimsby Town in last season’s play-off final.
Despite his injury setback, Donawa was handed a new deal with the West Midlands-based outfit, ending speculation over his immediate future after he reportedly attracted the interest of league rivals Southend United over a possible free transfer with his previous two-year deal at ARMCO Arena coming to an end.