Striker Mackail-Smith targets Brighton return
Brighton striker Craig Mackail-Smith says he is ‘desperate’ to play again for the first-team – but won’t be putting a timescale on his return.
The Scotland international has been out of action since last March with Achilles, ankle and groin injuries, but played 45 minutes for Albion’s under-21s in a friendly with AFC Bournemouth on Monday.
Mackail-Smith, who turned 30 last month, is keen to help the Seagulls during the run-in – but admits boss Oscar Garcia will have the last word.
He told Brighton’s official website: “I’m desperate to get out there and play my part for the first team, but I will need to see what the medical staff and Oscar say in terms of returning.
“It was hard missing out on the play-offs last year, watching the two games against Crystal Palace. I was really twitchy and kicking every ball.
“I now feel ready to go – but it might be a case of playing 60 minutes, then 90 minutes [for the development squad] before coming back for the first team.
“Of course, I would love to be involved on Saturday [against Ipswich], even if it was just for five minutes, but I will have to wait and see. For now, I am looking forward to playing in next week’s under-21 game.
“That one is against Queens Park Rangers at the Amex, so it will be great to get back out there and play. It’s been hard coming to the stadium and not being able to play.”
Mackail-Smith is also confident the Seagulls can make the play-offs after victories over QPR and Bolton lifted them to within touching distance of the top six.
He added: “When you look at the table, the fixtures, it looks like it could be an exciting finish and we have as good a chance as anyone – but as Oscar has said many times, it’s important we take one game at a time.”