Reuser: I can still do it

MARTIJN Reuser today sent a message to Ipswich Town fans: "I'm feeling great and am ready for it again."The Dutch international midfield man was a key figure as Town took the Premiership by storm two seasons ago.

By Dave Allard

MARTIJN Reuser today sent a message to Ipswich Town fans: "I'm feeling great and am ready for it again."

The Dutch international midfield man was a key figure as Town took the Premiership by storm two seasons ago.

However, he has not made a Nationwide League appearance this term following a knee operation.

Reuser declared: "My fitness and touch are at last right. I'm determined to show what I can do in the First Division once more."

The 27-year-old Wembley play-off goal hero was thrilled when fans chanted for his introduction a fortnight ago as Morecambe were beaten at Portman Road in the FA Cup.

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"It was wonderful, really wonderful. All quite emotional," said the former Ajax and Vitesse Arnhem man who came on as a substitute to a

rousing reception.

He added: "I'm back to my old levels again. The team have been doing so well and I may not be needed, but I'm feeling right and I'm there if required."

The Morecambe game was Reuser's first taste of senior action since an early-season knee operation that came at a time when Premiership Charlton were looking to take him on loan.

He did not go with the squad for last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Burnley as he was continuing intensive

fitness work with club fitness coach Simon Thadani.

Monday night's reserve defeat against Chelsea at Aldershot was Reuser's fifth second team outing and he is set to be back in the squad for Saturday's game with Preston at Portman Road.

He said: "Against Chelsea I was really satisfied with my performance. Looking back on recent games, this was my best. I'm feeling like my old self and that's marvellous. And the 20 minutes taste I got against Morecambe was a real bonus.

"I'm ready to be involved with the first team again. All I can do is to try to impress the manager with every training session and I hope I'm doing that. Joe Royle, Willie Donachie and Tony Mowbray are working so well together in a bid to lift the team up into the play-offs and I'm so keen to be a part of it.

"I've had a long time off the first team scene, but I'm a football player and I love to play. I badly want to make an impact on that first team scene again and hopefully that will happen.

"I feel that I still have plenty to offer. When I first came back after the operation it was hard. Gradually it's got better. I've seen so much of fitness coach Simon Thadani. He's worked hard and so have I. Hopefully the club can benefit between now and the end of the season."

Boss Royle said: "Martijn has been working on his fitness over the holiday period when there haven't been reserve games. I didn't see that reserve match against Chelsea on Monday, but I'm told he did very well. It's a case of the more the merrier."

A mid-table Town side, unbeaten for eight matches, take on a lowly Preston side who have lost seven of their last eight.

Manager Craig Brown, the former Scotland chief, has been under fire from Deepdale fans.

Royle said: "They are still in with a play-off chance as they are not that far behind us. I hear that there are people calling for the head of the manager, but that's the last thing they need. They need his experience and ability and his smile."

On the injury front, there are concerns in the Ipswich camp about Jim Magilton (calf) and Chris Makin (sore back).

Town chairman David Sheepshanks is working on a deal that would cancel the

contract of Nigerian inter-national attacker Finidi George.

The head of the Blues board met with George's agents this week in a bid to reach a

compromise.

The player was signed from Real Mallorca for £3million the summer before last. He was given a free transfer just before Christmas.

Reserve midfield player Robert Dickinson has gone to Rotherham for a trial.

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