Reading's Karacan cutting short celebrations
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Jem Karacan celebrates promotion with Reading fans.
READING supporters may be celebrating the team's promotion to the Premeir League for weeks to come but for Jem Karacan the hard work has already begun.
Royals' midfielder missed the last five games of the Championship season after Leeds United's Michael Brown broke his leg in a fiery 2-0 win at Madejski Stadium.
It was a cruel blow for the 23-year-old who had been virtually ever present throughout the rest of the campaign.
But the serious injury robbed him of the chance to play a key role on the pitch over the closing games when Brian McDermott's men gained promotion to the top flight.
Yet Karacan says the incident has only strengthened his resolve to make a full recovery before the start of pre-season training in early July.
The Turkey Under 21 star said: "I won't be able to walk properly for another few weeks. Honestly, crutches are the most annoying thing ever, though my arms are getting bigger and stronger every day.
"It's frustrating but it's just one of those things. I would much rather it happened now than at the start of next season because I wouldn't have been in with a shout of playing, and that would have been a nightmare.
"So maybe the fact it happened right at the end of the season was a blessing in disguise. Hopefully I will come back even stronger and make my mark in the Premier League which would be a dream come true for me."
And he added: "I'll be spending a lot of time in the gym to keep my fitness up over the summer. But I don't mind and it's going to be an amazing summer for everyone because the last one was horrible after we lost in the play-off final.
"I went away on holiday with my pals and they were trying to keep my spirits up the whole trip.
"We were really down in the dumps, but this summer it will be the reverse. We can walk around with a smile on our faces.
"The squad went on a trip to Spain after we got promoted and I'll get a couple more holidays in but the hard work starts now my cast is off.
"I just can't wait to get back on the training ground."
Karacan emerged from the Royals Academy to become a first-team regular under McDermott.
And though he missed the last five games through injury, he was present when it mattered when Reading beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 at Madejski Stadium to guarantee promotion.
The fact Karacan had been operated on just hours earlier and was still groggy from the anaesthetic was further proof of his dedication to the cause.
"I was listening on the radio but I wasn't really sure what was going on," he recalled. "My mum and sister were with me in the hospital and when they said we were promoted I had to get to the stadium to be with the boys. They drove me there and it was quite surreal really. I can't remember too much but it was an amazing day."
At least the anaesthetic had worn off by the time Royals drew 2-2 with Crystal Palace in the next game to secure the Championship title amid wild celebrations.
And Karacan was able to play a full part in the town's celebrations once the season had ended.
"To enjoy those times with our families was incredible," he admitted. "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my mum and dad driving me up and down the motorway for all those years. This promotion is for everyone who supported me as well.
"My family hardly miss a game, they go to more Reading games than anyone. I'm very lucky, without them I wouldn't have achieved this.
"Some people take it for granted but they've been with me every step of the way."