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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

John in fitness fight

PUBLISHED: 20:00 10 June 2003 | UPDATED: 13:59 03 March 2010

JOHN McGreal's fitness fight has led to him cancelling a sunshine break in the South of France.

"We should have been away at the moment," said the Ipswich defender before the latest of his daily visits to the Town training ground.

JOHN McGreal's fitness fight has led to him cancelling a sunshine break in the South of France.

"We should have been away at the moment," said the Ipswich defender before the latest of his daily visits to the Town training ground.

"But we cancelled the holiday because I am in the middle of rehabilitation and nothing matters more than me getting my fitness back."

The former Tranmere central defender has been joined by Richard Naylor, Matt Bloomfield and Erdem Artun, all of whom are working overtime in their own personal fitness battles.

McGreal, 31, managed just 22 senior appearances last season, when he was unfortunate in being struck down three times in quick succession.

His nightmare started when he was forced off at Brighton in December with a knee ligament problem.

Then, in his second comeback game two months later, he pulled a muscle in his back and was sidelined until mid-April.

McGreal returned to action in a home reserve game against West Ham, with the intention of getting 45 minutes under his belt en route to joining the club's play-off challenge.

But disaster struck when his knee gave way again under a challenge and he was stretchered off, his season prematurely over.

"I've obviously heard of players suffering long-term injuries and being out for a long time, but three injuries one after the other like that has got to be very unusual," said the player who cost £650,000 four years ago.

"Touch wood, things are going really well at the moment. I've started to do a bit of jogging after running on the treadmill, although it's touch and go whether I'll be ready to join the others when they come back for pre-season training."

The Town players are due to report back on July 2, but McGreal is not setting any deadlines for himself.

He added: "There will be another six weeks before the season starts, so I'm not going to rush it. There will be no cutting corners – it's a case of approach with caution.

"This is the first time in my career that I've been out of action for so long. The biggest challenge is to get myself fit again and once that happens my confidence will start to return.

"I'm not really thinking about getting back in the team. There's no point thinking four steps ahead and then having to take two back.

"We decided to cancel the holiday but my wife and I will hopefully get four or five days away in the sun at the end of the month.

"And my wife's sister lives in Brighton. We like to pop down there for weekend breaks, so it hasn't just been training, training and nothing else."

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