Steve Sets Sights

Steve Lomas should take another step towards full rehabilitation when he has the pin removed from his broken toe on Wednesday.

West Ham's club captain says:

"Hopefully I will get the pin out of my toe today with all being well, and then it is back to the gym again, and another three weeks to let the toe heal.

"Then, in another three weeks' time, I can hopefully start doing a bit of running and kicking a few balls but with the pin sticking out of the toe I haven't been able to do anything."

The injury was caused by Steffen Freund in only his second comeback game after a long knee injury, and he says:

"Steffen did foul me but the referee missed it; it was pretty much an accident but he just caught me late on the toe.

"It is just one of those things; I just want to get this year out of the way and hopefully things will pick up for me next year.

"Hopefully I can get back playing in the first team in the not too distant future; it has been pretty hard to take because with there being so many games coming up I was hoping that I'd have had a chance to get some games under my belt, even if I wasn't starting.

"I haven't kicked a ball; I've played maybe three games in the whole year and when you break a toe, as people will tell you, you just can't play."

It really has been a miserable 2001 for Steve, who turned down moves to Manchester City and Everton just days before he sustained the knee injury.

"I nearly left the club at the start of the year because obviously a bid was accepted," he says, "but I didn't want to leave.

"I rejected a move and then a week later I did my knee injury and what has panned out was nine months of hard work to get back.

"The manager at the time accepted the bid for whatever reason; everybody has their price, but Harry still played me the week after the bid was accepted."

The comeback was certainly short lived, and he says:

"I played in the Charlton and Tottenham games and I was about eight games away from being able to say I was back and feeling myself.

"It is just one of these things and if you don't accept it, it drives you crazy.

"I am one of those people who has to be doing stuff and the hardest thing is to be sitting around not able to do anything; I am not one of those people that doesn't enjoy training.

"When you are lying around not training you don't feel yourself as a professional person so that has been the frustrating thing about it.

"It has been the lowest point of my career; there have been times when it has been very hard and the kick in the teeth was getting the toe injury.

"It is a long hard road getting yourself back to fitness and to the stage when you need to be playing games, and, though I'm not saying I'd have been playing every game, Id have been getting the opportunity to get stronger as I went along."

It has been a catalogue of injuries for Steve, who is obviously hoping for a change of fortune next year.

"The one bright spot is that at least I was back training with the knee," he says, "the toe injury is just a hindrance.

"I hurt my ankle during rehab and broke my toe as well near the end of the season before last, and I broke my finger a year ago, so I've had my bits and pieces.

"It hasn't been a great year but a lot worse has happened to other people."