Heffernan eyeing return

He has endured the toughest year of his professional career and now Central Coast defender Dean Heffernan is itching to get back on the field.

He has endured the toughest year of his professional career and now Central Coast defender Dean Heffernan is itching to get back on the field.

For Heffernan just getting through a training session is an achievement.

Since breaking his leg in last season's epic 5-4 defeat to Sydney in Gosford, Heffernan has had to endure numerous setbacks.

For a time, it appeared the goalscoring defender was a chance to make his return in last season's grand final.

However, that didn't happen and apart from a few appearances in the pre-season, Heffernan has been restricted to light duties.

"It's been tough, really tough," Heffernan said.

"I got back into some pretty intense training in the pre-season and the leg wasn't ready. I thought I was ready but I was probably in a bit of denial.

"I wanted it to be right. As soon as I copped a knock on it in the Pre-Season Cup (against Wellington) I couldn't walk for three or four days."

Further tests revealed the injury had not healed properly and Heffernan was again forced out for a long period.

He has only recently begun to increase his training but the Mariner has boldly predicted a return to the field in the 'next month or so' and his return will serve as a welcome boost for the reigning premiers.

"The doctor has given me the all clear, it's feeling a lot better," he said.

After such a long lay-off, Heffernan will probably return via the National Youth League before attempting to force his way into the Central Coast's first XI.