Don't write me off says Venus

MARK VENUS vowed today that he will still play an Ipswich Town part this season despite knee damage being worse then was first thought.The 35-year-old player-of-the-year central defender declared: "If there is anything I can do for this club I will.

By Dave Allard

MARK VENUS vowed today that he will still play an Ipswich Town part this season despite knee damage being worse then was first thought.

The 35-year-old player-of-the-year central defender declared: "If there is anything I can do for this club I will."

Venus, who is out of hospital now after extensive surgery, was dismayed to hear that the extent of the damage to the joint was worse than anticipated.

But he is relieved that the badly torn cartilage has been repaired.

"It's a relief, the sort you get after having a tooth out. The repair work has been done. Now I can set a target and look ahead," he said.

Most Read

The left side defensive specialist will go back to visit the surgeon again on February 28 and hopes to be playing again in six to eight weeks.

He continued: "I was getting really cheesed off and now I feel more positive. I can be more focused. There was fluid from the back of the knee seeping through the tendon causing an extra problem. The repair work took longer than was first anticipated. But it's done now and that's the main thing. I feel at ease now."

Venus could be a trump card for manager Joe Royle over the closing stages of a season that Town hope can still see them gain promotion back into the Premiership.

He continued: "I'm still determined to influence the situation here at Ipswich this season. I really am. I've not played since damaging the knee in early December and it will be hard. But I can do it and I intend to."

Manager Joe Royle said: "Mark has come back in after his operation with a smile on his face. It's lovely to see and now he can really look ahead."

Town reserves take on Fulham at Portman Road tonight (7pm) with striker Alun Armstrong out to prove his fitness again after more hamstring injury trouble.

Fellow experienced striker Richard Naylor and free transfer listed midfield man Martijn Reuser were both set to play originally.

But they are not being risked due to minor injuries.

Players in tonight's game know that good performances are especially important with club looking to continue to trim costs and cut the wage bill further.

The Blues reserve squad is: Pullen, Bloomfield, Richards, Beevers, Hogg, Abidallah, Westlake Murray, Bowditch, Robinson, Armstrong, Mitchell, Morrow, Peat, Bonwick and Boardley.

HERMANN Hreidarsson has heard that his appeal against the sending off at Bradford has been thrown out by referee Clive Wilkes. He will miss the trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday week unless the Eagles pull off a shock FA Cup replay win at Liverpool. He will also sit out the games against Wolves and Grimsby. If the Palace game is called off then he will miss the derby with Norwich.