NEW Morton goalkeeper Brendan Pearson is targeting the number one jersey next season — after battling back to save his football career from a ‘nightmare’ injury.

The former Newcastle United under-23 player, who joined Morton earlier this month, was diagnosed with patellar tendonitis three years ago.

The condition caused the shotstopper pain in his knees, affecting his lower body and making it difficult to do day-to-day tasks.

He had several injections and treatment, but eventually had to have surgery to help fix it towards the end of 2016. What was meant to be a five-month lay-off turned into a year-and-a-half before he finally made his return for the Geordie side’s youth team last year.

He left Newcastle last summer and joined non-league side South Shields for several months earlier this season before moving on.

In the last three years Pearson has only played a handful of games because of the injury, but the 22-year-old hopes after signing with Morton he can get back to his best and kick on with his career.

He told the Tele: “I went on loan to Gateshead back in 2016 and it started to get a lot worse. 

“I was so sore after training and games, and it got to the point when I couldn’t function properly anymore.

“I went back to Newcastle for scans and injections but it was no good. 

“I had surgery in 2016 at the end of the year and it was only meant to take five months to get back playing but it ended up taking 18.

“It was a nightmare but I just said to myself I needed to take it day by day and take the opportunity to strengthen up the other parts of my body. I am physically the best I’ve ever felt.

“Because of the lack of football I’ve had over the last two or three years with injuries I’ve only played a few games in that time I’m starting out with the reserves first.

“The gaffer wanted me to get a few more games under my belt, be part of full-time training again and build my confidence up and work on a few things.

“My aim is to push for the number one spot down the line, but at the minute I am just focusing on games for the reserves and taking every opportunity as it comes.”

The goalkeeper admitted it was tough spending days in the gym as he tried to get fit again, facing the prospect that he might never return to playing.

But Pearson kept himself busy as he worked towards a personal training qualification, and says having his mind focused on that, as well as the support from his family and friends, helped him through the difficult time.

He added: “You just have to keep your head focused and not lose your head. I know there are people who have had depression from being out injured for so long.

“There are hard times but if you have a good support network it makes it a lot easier.

“There were times when I was really down, but I would bounce back the next day. I’m very fortunate to have the family I have and I can motivate myself so I knew it would eventually pay off.

“I just need the opportunity to show what I can do, and I have the security of an 18-month contract that I can put my head down and get back to regularly playing again. It’s about getting into a routine and it’s huge for a goalkeeper.”