MIDFIELDER Damien Johnson is closely following the unfolding crisis at Plymouth Argyle, while he continues his recovery from a serious knee injury. Johnson admitted it was "heartbreaking" to see the Pilgrims end up in administration, with debts of £13 million. The 32-year-old remains registered as an Argyle player, but he signed for League One rivals Huddersfield Town on a season-long loan in August.
Johnson was offered a lucrative contract when he arrived at Home Park from Birmingham City in February 2010.
But following the Pilgrims' relegation from the Championship last season, new manager Peter Reid was charged with the task of reducing the size of the club's wage bill.
That led to Johnson moving to Huddersfield only two days before the start of the 2010/11 campaign.
Johnson had played 23 times for the Terriers before he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in a 2-1 home win against Brighton and Hove Albion in December.
The former Northern Ireland international had successful surgery in January but will not play again this season
Johnson is carrying out his rehabilitation with Huddersfield, who are making a strong push for promotion. But recent events at Home Park have not escaped his attention, and Johnson has stayed in touch with Argyle captain Carl Fletcher.
Johnson told The Herald: "I'm acutely aware that, technically, I'm still an Argyle player. I'm keeping abreast of things at the club.
"I really enjoyed the six months I had down there. "
It was disappointing we were relegated last season, but I loved the area and all the people at the club were very good to me.
"It's heartbreaking to see what has happened there. I hope they can get themselves a buyer and the investment they need to get out of administration.
"They need to get themselves on a solid financial footing and start the rebuilding process."
Johnson has been pleased with how his recovery has gone, but knows patience is the key.
His ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) operation was carried out by Steve Bollen at The Yorkshire Clinic in Bingley, near Bradford.
Bollen is recognised as one of the leading soft tissue knee and ankle surgeons in the UK, and he performed a similar procedure on Argyle midfielder Simon Walton last August.
Johnson said: "My operation was a success, thank God. Everything is going according to plan.
"With these injuries, they are long-term ones so you have got to be patient.
"I'm not going to play this season so there isn't a mad rush, which I think is a good thing.
"There is no pressure on me to get back before the end of the season and I can concentrate on my rehab in Huddersfield."
Johnson added: "These things take six months post-op (to recover from) and I'm about 12 or 13 weeks through it. "I saw the consultant on Monday and he's pleased with the knee." Johnson admitted the ACL injury had come as a bitter blow for him.
He said: "Any footballer will tell you if there is one injury you don't want it's the cruciate knee ligament.
"A broken bone can heal itself in a few weeks, or be pinned into place, but an ACL injury is more complicated than that.
"It's major trauma for your knee and there is a graft involved."
Johnson had been enjoying playing for Huddersfield until his injury intervened.
He said: "I had a good run of 20-oddgames at Plymouth at the end of last season and it was the same at Huddersfield.
"It's a good club and it was nice to be part of a team with ambitions to do well, but these things (injuries) happen.
"It was an awkward fall and innocuous things like that can often be quite serious."
Johnson was grateful that Argyle and Huddersfield came to an amicable agreement on him having his ACL operation and carrying out his rehab in Yorkshire.
He keeps in regular contact with Pilgrims' physiotherapist Paul Atkinson to update him on his progress.
Johnson said: "I had moved out of my rented accommodation in Plymouth and have got a place up north, so it made sense for me to stay up here.
"Both clubs were very good to me about it."
Johnson is under contract to Argyle next season, but Huddersfield manager Lee Clark has not ruled a permanent transfer for him in the summer.
"He told me to 'get yourself right and we will see where we are at the end of the season', and that's what I'm doing," said Johnson.
"I'm concentrating on getting my knee as good as possible. The other stuff is out of my hands. "I think a lot depends on how Huddersfield finish the season.
"I hope by that stage Argyle have got themselves in a position where they have turned the corner."