JON Meades is keeping his spirits up while dealing with a long lay-off.

The 21-year-old is enduring 12 weeks on the sidelines after rupturing ankle ligaments in in the final pre-season friendly against Coventry City last month.

It is the first time Meades has had to deal with such a serious problem, but his mood was helped this week when specialists confirmed the injury would not need an operation.

He said: “I’ve had a couple of injuries and I just try to be as optimistic as I can.

“If you think positively, I believe you do come back a bit quicker.

“Obviously there are going to be some hard times which you’re going to have with an injury like this, but I’m just concentrating on coming back as quickly as possible.”

The setback means the summer signing will have to wait for his competitive debut, but he remains unshakeably optimistic.

“Some people say it’s one of the worst times to get injured, but it means my season will just start a bit later than everyone else,” the midfielder said.

“There would still be two-thirds of the season to go and you want to be playing towards the end when there are more pressure games. I’m trying to look at it in that way.”

One source of motivation for Meades is United’s trip to AFC Wimbledon, where he spent most of last season on loan.

The fixture is on October 26, which would be 13 weeks on from the injury.