Dunne: I’ll be back as good as before

James Dunne. Picture: Joe Pepler
James Dunne. Picture: Joe Pepler

James Dunne shrugged off his injury lay-off and vowed: I’ll be back as good as before.

The combative midfielder is out until the new year after undergoing an operation on his left knee.

His absence has dealt a massive blow to Andy Awford, who has instead been forced to recruit Marcus Bean on loan to fill the chasm.

Regardless, the Blues have won just one of their last five matches without the 25-year-old patrolling the centre of midfield.

For Dunne, though, progress since undergoing the surgeon’s knife last month is encouraging.

And he is adamant he will be back to his best upon his comeback.

He said: ‘I have had injuries before and come back the same player.

‘This will not change me or the way I play, definitely not.

‘I had a niggle in my right knee in the past and that was sorted out without impacting on my game.

‘When you are a sportsman your knees are absolutely vital – you pound down on them, run, walk or tackle.

‘So you cannot really rush it. You rely so much on your knees you have to be pain free and that is my aim.

‘This is one of those things.

‘The injury has just come out of nowhere – I was fine in the games beforehand.

‘At the time I felt my game was getting better and better, so I’m looking forward to getting back fit and playing again.

‘And when I’m back I’ll be looking to return to the first team.’

Dunne first felt the problem with his knee while warming up before kick-off against Carlisle at Fratton Park.

An injection got him through the match – featuring for the entire 90 minutes as Pompey won 3-0.

But the club’s worst fears were confirmed when the following week the ex-Stevenage man had to undergo an operation.

Dunne has established himself as a popular player since his summer arrival for an undisclosed transfer fee, the fans appreciative of his all-action style.

To date he has made 17 appearances, scoring once and picking up seven yellow cards.

Now he’s itching to get back.

He added: ‘The operation went well.

‘They fixed the knee and the injury is not as bad as it could have been.

‘I’ve been doing exercises to keep my leg muscles all good and I’m looking at early in the new year, depending on how the knee feels.

‘I just felt it in the warm- up before the Carlisle game.

‘It was very sore and I had an injection for the pain and played on it.

‘The injection and adrenaline got me through the game and we picked up a really good win.

‘I had the scan on the Monday and there was a tear in it, so now it’s a case of working hard to get back available again.’