Venus vows to battle on

MARK Venus today vowed: "I won't quit on this season. There's still hope."The 35-year-old Ipswich Town central defender has been told by a specialist that it is likely to be another four or five weeks before he can train fully again after knee surgery.

By Dave Allard

MARK Venus today vowed: "I won't quit on this season. There's still hope."

The 35-year-old Ipswich Town central defender has been told by a specialist that it is likely to be another four or five weeks before he can train fully again after knee surgery.

"I've been in this game long enough to realise that my season could be over," he said.

"It's possible that it could take even longer than that, but I won't give in.

"I still hope to be available for the last few games on the fixture list and who knows, there could be play-off matches to be contested. I'm continuing to work hard on my rehabilitation programme.

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"My dream is still alive that I can be available to help this club over the last few weeks of the campaign."

There is no doubt that any first team action this season would be a bonus for the former Hartlepool, Leicester and Wolves man who was voted player of the year by Town fans at the end of the 2001/2002 season.

The current campaign came to a halt for Venus in the 2-1 home defeat to Rotherham in early December and the veteran has endured a frustrating spell since then.

He admitted: "The injury turned out to be ten times worse than it was first thought. Scans showed that there was far more damage than initially envisaged.

"I've again been to see the surgeon who carried out the operation last month and he told me straight.

"The knee is bedding in well after a considerable amount of repair work to the damaged ligaments.

"But it can't be rushed and I'm looking at another four to five weeks before, hopefully, I can train fully."

Venus, who has had back and ankle operations earlier in his career, may be just a frustrated on-looker these days, but his knowledge is always there.

The member of the May, 2000 Wembley play-off winning Town side insisted: "If I can give out any help and advice I do."

He said: "I've had ops before and got over them well. I will again, but this one has come up at a particularly bad time with the club needing all the experience that can be mustered out there on the field."

Venus, whose contract is up in June added: "All I can do is put in the endless hours of rehabilitation work and hope that the recovery goes as smoothly as possible.

"Time this season is running out I know, but the surgeon had much more work to do than was first though and it couldn't be helped.

"I can't kid myself, there is a possibility that I may not be back before the end of the season.

"However, I can assure every Ipswich Town fan that Mark Venus will not be giving up. I'm employed by this club and I'll work desperately to try to make sure that I'm out there playing again before the action ends."

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