Pompey talisman is back with a bang

James Dunne on the ground after taking a knock to his ankle. Picture: Joe Pepler
James Dunne on the ground after taking a knock to his ankle. Picture: Joe Pepler

James Dunne has explained the reasons behind his speedy return.

The combative Pompey midfielder made his first start since November after recovering from knee surgery and turned in an impressive display, although he did pick up his now customary yellow card in the 1-1 draw with Burton Albion.

But the 25-year-old insisted there was no magic formula behind his quick recovery – just a lot of hard work in the gym and doing as he was told by following orders from Blues physio Sean Duggan.

Dunne said: ‘It was great being back out there again.

‘I was probably a week or two ahead of schedule in the end.

‘Duggo looks after me. The stuff I got told to do, I did.

‘Either I’m a quick healer or I’ve got a good physio.

‘But I didn’t do anything different myself. There was no special secret to it.

‘I played in the reserve game against Fulham, which was good against a strong team and I had a couple of substitute appearances.

‘But it was great to be starting.

‘I came off as a bit of a precaution and the fact that I was blowing. It was nothing serious – I got a kick on the ankle.

‘But I was running on empty.

‘I was struggling and then I got my second wind. I feel I am at 100-per-cent in terms of fitness.

‘But maybe I need another game or two to get my stamina back.

‘I must be nearly back there now.

‘Training gets you to a certain level but you always need those games to get you up to the next stage.’

Aside from completing his rehabilitation programme, Dunne admitted he also had to stop himself from doing too much.

He said: ‘The first four or five weeks it was really hard because I was going to the gym and I didn’t get to see the boys.

‘Going to the gym on your own, you have to get your head on it.

‘But I just wanted to get it done.

‘It’s hard when you are sitting in the stands watching and you want to be playing and you have to stop yourself from trying to rush things.

‘But I’m just glad to be back.

‘It’s a shame we didn’t get the win and it felt like a missed opportunity.

‘Everyone was a bit down but we haven’t lost the game – we have gained a point against a decent side who are second in the table.

‘We have to pick ourselves up. We’ve got Southend at home next week and I’m sure if we keep playing like this, the points will come.’

Dunne also proved that he will not be changing his game or needing to protect his knee with a series of trademark big tackles, including the one that got him booked.

He said: ‘That’s my game – I don’t even think about it.

‘There’s no chance I will change.

‘As I went in and missed the ball, I thought the ref might let me off because I apologised straight away.

‘I was just a bit late and maybe that’s because my timing was a bit out because I haven’t played too much. He wasn’t having any of it though!

‘He was straight out with the yellow card.

‘I thought we played well but we were a bit unlucky and didn’t take our chances.

‘I don’t think we kept the ball as well in the second half as we did in the first.’