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BARNEY BACK ON TRACK

Posted on 2 February 2007  - 12:00

You got the sense that Lee Barnard probably had more than just his fingers crossed when he said that he hoped to be back in training in two weeks time.

You got the sense that Lee Barnard probably had more than just his fingers crossed when he said that he hoped to be back in training in two weeks time.The striker has been suffering with an ankle injury since pre-season and last week travelled to Holland for a second operation with the aim of solving the problem once and for all.

"I had the operation just to clean up my ankle and remove all the scar tissue and there was a few bits of bone floating about as well," reported Lee, who made his First Team debut against tomorrow's opponents Manchester United at the end of last season.

"From the the first operation there were a few complications and the scar tissue restricted me a lot. It was also causing me some pain and I needed this done.

"Before the first operation it was thought it would be six weeks maximum out and I knew I could deal with that, even though it is a long time. After a couple of months I was getting back into running, but it still wasn't right and it was disheartening.

"It did not go to plan, but that is the way it has gone and hopefully it will make me stronger in the long run."

Lee went on to concede that it was hard to even admit to himself that his ankle was not quite right when he started training again after his first op.

"Exactly. When I first started running I kept telling myself that it would be fine and loosen up, but it got worse and worse and was affecting me again so I had to tell the physios," he added, before assessing where he is up to in terms of his rehab.

"At the moment it is still fairly limited in terms of what I can do - I work on the bike and do some swimming. I've been running a couple of times, but it is mainly gym work to get the rest of my body ready for when I do get back out there.

"I can feel the difference now and it is getting better - so hopefully it will not be long now.

"I'm pretty cautious saying it now because I've had so many disappointments this season. I don't want to get my hopes up, but I am hoping to be training in two weeks.

"I just can't wait to play again and, if I do get a call-up to the first team, it would be an absolute bonus. It would make up for things.

"The gaffer has been great and is always asking me how I'm doing. Him talking to me gives me a little boost and keeps me going."