LAID on the sofa watching Breaking Bad and eating sausage sandwiches. Sounds like a relaxing way to spend a morning, heaven for the idle among us, though it was not what Luke Trotman had in mind when playing in Darlington’s match with Gateshead on a Wednesday evening in August.

In the dying minutes of a 1-1 draw, however, the right-back landed awkwardly, rupturing an Achilles tendon which instantly meant he was out for the foreseeable future after just two games.

It also meant an unscheduled night at the physio’s house.

“I just went up for a header and when I landed I heard it pop,” recalls the 22-year-old, who is from Luton and is based at Loughborough University where he is in the final year of a banking, finance and management degree.

"I just rolled off the pitch, I didn’t make a big deal and stop the game. Having broken my leg before I think the nerves there are a bit dull, so it didn’t hurt that much. All the lads were saying I might be alright, but Danny knew straight away. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t lift my foot up.

“I was fine in the changing room, but as soon as I got to Danny’s car I burst out crying! He’s funny, Danny, and he looked after me."

Quakers physio and good samaritan is Danny O’Connor, who put Trotman him up for the night as he could not be seen at Darlington Memorial Hospital until 4am.

O'Connor added: "He ended up having to sleep at my house and then watching Breaking Bad the next day while laid on my sofa getting force-fed Danny-size sausage sandwiches!"

Unable to drive himself home due to the injury, Trotman explained: "My sister drove five hours to pick me up, and then took me to hospital in Luton. She helped me out massively. Then a week later my mam got a coach up to Darlington to bring my car back because that was in the car park at Blackwell Meadows. I’m lucky I have my family there.”

Two months later and when Trotman says he is on the road to recovery he means it. The protective ‘moon boot’ he has been wearing since surgery on August 20 was removed this week, meaning he can drive again and on Saturday may attend Darlington’s FA Cup tie at Tamworth, which not far from his university.

“I don’t want to jinx anything! I’m scared to go, I’m worried that if I go we won’t win,” he says. “But I’ll probably be there supporting the boys.”

Having suffered a badly broken leg during his days with hometown club Luton Town, Trotman knows all about the tedium of rehabilitation, the long hours in the gym and the weeks of building fitness before being able to make a return to playing.

He could yet play before the end of the season, and being based at Loughborough, renowned for its sports facilities, is ideal for his rehab.

He said: “I fully ruptured my Achilles, so they stitched it and I've had to let it heal for two months in a plastic boot. I haven’t been able to drive for two months, I’ve just got the boot off today so it’s even weird walking and I’d forgotten how to drive! They’ve said to keep it to short journeys for now.

“I have to build strength back up in my leg – my calf is so much smaller than the other one because I haven’t used it for ages.

“I’ve been with the physios and in the gym every day. It’s quite boring, basically flexing your foot all day, but I’ve got a bit addicted to it, so I’m in there around two hours a day.”

A doctor inspected his ankle this week and Trotman explained: “He thinks I’ve made really good progress, he says it’s healed well. I had an ultrasound scan and they said it’s looking good, I’ve got good range of motion but they’ve told me not to rush it. I’m one to rush it to try and get back as quickly as possible, but they said take my time and listen to your physio.

“I’ve been on Google looking at the expected time to be back playing. It says the average is about six or seven months.

“Overall, I’ve made good progress. Being at Loughborough, I couldn’t be at a better place. The strength and conditioning, the physios, it’s the best there is. They even supply Man City with people. The gym is unreal, so it’s probably why I’ve made quite good progress."

In Trotman’s absence, and that of several others during an injury-hit start to the season, Darlington have had a mixed start to the campaign but have found some form of late by winning four matches in a row so go into this weekend’s FA Cup tie in high spirits.

A variety of players have filled for him, Omar Holness, Michael Liddle and Ben Hedley all slotting in at right-back, but it was not supposed to be this way.

Trotman missed only one match last season, he was Darlington's Mr Dependable and had combined to good affect up the right with Stephen Thompson, while manager Alun Armstrong talked highly of him and believed his attacking instincts made him a perfect fit his team.

Furthermore, his form had led to him being selected in the England C team and in July played for the non-league representative team in Estonia.

“It’s frustrating but that’s football,” added Trotman. “I know I would really have enjoyed this season under Alun and the way the team is playing. I’ve watched the highlights and the lads are playing good football. It’s gutting really.

“Jamie Holmes got injured and David Atkinson as well, the gaffer has had a lot to deal with and you can see why he’s a good manager because despite all of the injuries he’s still getting results.

“I think the team was performing without getting results, it’s good that the results are coming now.

“I stay in touch with the lads and the gaffer as well, and now that I’m back driving I’m going to try and get to a few matches.”

With his contract up at the end of the season there are concerns among supporters about Trotman’s long-term future with Quakers, though he is only focused on a return to playing.

“The gaffer had the same injury, he says, and then got a move to the Premier League. So it is possible to come back and keep progressing. It is a long recovery time, so it is about keep staying positive,” he said.

“My plan was to go back to full-time football after my degree, but getting injured means it might take a bit longer. It has thrown my plans up in the air a bit. I’ll see what happens, get back fit first and set a goal then.

“The timing is annoying. Everyone has to deal with setbacks and injuries in football, good players keep progressing and deal with problems so hopefully I can get back fit and back to how I was playing.”