IF CHRISTIAN Ribeiro avoids blocking a shot in training today, he can be forgiven.

A year ago today the Welshman was full of optimism ahead of his first season at Oxford United.

But in the final session on the eve of the campaign, disaster struck.

Ribeiro had blocked thousands of shots during his career without mishap, but this time Liam Sercombe’s shot caught him at just the wrong angle.

Cue months of painful rehabilitation to recover from a broken ankle, meaning instead of his U’s debut coming in August, it was April before the full back kicked a ball in anger.

Ribeiro joked he would avoid tackling anyone this week just to make sure lightning does not strike twice, but the 27-year-old is serious about making up for lost time.

“It sums up large parts of my career, bad luck like that,” he said.

“I’d like to think I have more motivation than anyone to prove I should be a really good player here.

“I have the confidence in myself, but I haven’t had the opportunity to have a run of ten or 20 games to show people.

“In the back of my mind I want to prove to everyone I’m a really good player as well, not someone to make up the numbers.

“That’s my job and I keep that on the backburner because I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself.”

Although now fully fit, the legacy of the ankle injury remains.

But Ribeiro shrugs off the need to go through additional work at the training ground as just part of the territory.

He said: “That’s sport and unfortunately it’s happened to me.

“It gives you that much determination and hunger to succeed now and means I have to do extras that others don’t to stay fit.

“That’s how it is, it’s part of my job. If I want to succeed I have to put in that extra bit of time.

“I’d like to think this year it will pay off.

“It was such a long time watching everyone.

“It’s nice to be back and throwing my name in the hat when we have a game.

“I want to be one of the guys people say ‘wasn’t he good today?’ rather than talking about everyone else all the time.”

The injury meant Ribeiro lost the chance to establish himself last season.

And now he faces a battle from teenager Canice Carroll and the experienced Dwight Tiendalli.

He said: “This club with the ambition it has to progress, everyone who comes in is going to be a really good player, so you’re going to have to play really well to stay in this team.

“Everyone now is chasing each other because we all want to be in that team come Oldham away.

“We’ll have to wait and see.”