JOEY O’Brien wants to reignite his Wanderers career by going out on loan – if anyone will have him.

The midfielder has spent the last two years on the sidelines after a succession of career-threatening injuries.

O’Brien has been through some “dark days” on his long road to recovery, none more so than when surgeons told him he would never play again after having a piece of his kneecap removed.

But the 24-year-old has battled back to full fitness and is now desperate to go out on loan to continue his rehabilitation – if he can find a club to take him.

“I’ve spoken to the manager and it’s an option – but it’s whether a club wants me or not. We’ll have to wait and see.” said O’Brien, who last played for Wanderers in a goalless draw with Blackburn on October 18, 2008.

“I’ve not been involved in the first team at the moment and have been playing reserve-team football, so it’s a step up to be playing competitive football in the Championship.

“The last two years have been pretty grim but if someone had told me a year ago I would have to go out on loan to play football I would’ve snapped their hand off because it didn’t look like I’d ever play again.

“There have been some dark days. The first surgery wasn’t a success and, after the second one, they weren’t very optimistic about the outcome because I’d had a piece of my kneecap taken out.

“I’ve still got a long way to go but the only way I’m going to get there is by playing games.”

There should be no shortage of suitors at Championship level for a player who made his Wanderers debut against Yeovil in the Carling Cup in September 2004 after coming through the youth system at the Reebok.

O’Brien is no stranger to going out on loan either, having spent a successful three-month spell at Sheffield Wednesday as an 18-year-old.

But injuries have plagued his career ever since, restricting him to just 70 appearances in six seasons with Bolton.

The likeable Dubliner is in the final year of his contract after signing a one-year extension under former manager Gary Megson.

But, for now, his priority is simply remaining injury-free.

“I’m out of contract at the end of the season, so it’s a big year but mainly it’s about staying injury-free. That’s the key,” said the Republic of Ireland international.

“I still have a programme I do every day, every week, every month, and I’ll be doing that for the rest of my career.

“But I’ve spent 12 months in the gym building up the muscles around my knee, so it’s stronger now than it’s ever been.

“If I go out on loan it’s up to me to perform well. I’m sure the manager will be watching.

“If I can stay fit I’m sure I’ll get a contract somewhere.”