Torquay United’s popular defender Liam Davis is determined to overcome a long and frustrating injury absence and return in time to help a Gulls’ promotion push before the end of the season.

The 33-year-old attacking left-back, United’s longest-serving player, is also dreaming of a comeback to coincide with fans being allowed into Plainmoor again in 2021.

It was a year ago last weekend when ex-Coventry City, Northampton Town, Yeovil Town and Cheltenham Town favourite Davis - he played all 48 games in the Gulls’ 2018-2019 NL South Championship season - suffered a serious left ankle injury in a 1-0 FA Cup defeat at Maidstone United.

He sustained a break and ligament damage, and the tall South Londoner underwent a second ‘reconstruction’ operation in August.

Davis has recently discarded a cast and plastic ‘boot’ and finally crutches. He is now walking unaided again and taking the first steps on a ‘second’ rehabilitation programme.

“I’ve still got a little way to go, but the progression is starting to go from month-to-month to week-to-week,” he said.

“The club has been very supportive and behind me, and that’s a big help mentally.

“When I get back to the training ground and my face is back, that will only get better.

“The team is doing well, which is great to see, and let’s hope they can keep it going.

“The last few months have been difficult for everybody. They still are, and I don’t want to look into any crystal balls.

“But the thought of me and the fans coming back together - that would be brilliant.”

Manager Gary Johnson, who signed Dean Moxey from Exeter City when he learned that Davis would be out until at least Christmas, said: “It’s been a very tough year for Liam. We’ve all missed him, and we’re looking forward to seeing him around the place again.

“When he gets back fit, it will be like having a big new signing available to us.”