Craig's Getting Better

Craig Forrest returned to Chadwell Heath to see his workmates on Thursday, and insists: My playing days are far from over.

The easy going Canadian, recovering from an operation and subsequent precautionary chemotherapy for testicular cancer, has not been back to the training ground since treatment began but made the long journey from Suffolk to tell his colleagues how he is getting on, and says:

"It was really nice to see everybody because it has been a long time since I got in amongst them.

"It was a little overwhelming at times how pleased they were to see me, and it was very touching to see the players and the staff."

Since Craig was diagnosed, the Hammers have signed Sven Andersson on a short term contract, and David Forde from Barry Town, and he says:

"There are plenty of goalkeepers all of a sudden, and I met Sven Andersson and David Forde for the first time; I'd heard a lot about them from Shaka and Steve.

"The atmosphere with all the keepers was as good as ever, and I don't think Sven is any taller than me, though, that said, when I spoke with him we were sitting down!"

As for his recovery, he says:

"So far so good; I have got some big scans coming up in the middle of April, and then they will do it probably every six months and hopefully I won't need any more treatment.

"There is no doubt the chemotherapy has taken it out of me and everyday living is good; I don't seem to get that tired.

"But when I try to do something a little physical though I do get tired later in the day; I guess it is because all that mess they put inside you it wipes you out a little bit.

"But that will gradually go away and I will get stronger, and hopefully after April I will be able to take that step forward.

"I hope to go in every once in a while now and do some weights and treadmill work to build it up from there before I do any goalkeeping.

"That can be stepped up after I do my scans and tests in April.

"My goal is to be getting back to full fitness by preseason, though some people say it might take a little longer than that.

"Luckily I'm not a midfield player that has to grind myself down, so to be actually fit for games I might not have to be completely there.

"But I will have to feel strong enough within myself to play again."

Craig hopes to extend his stay at Upton Park and adds:

"My contract runs out at the end of the season but obviously I have been preoccupied with other things.

"If the scan goes well as I expect I'd be looking to stay at West Ham if things work out properly.

"I have enjoyed my time here, love the club, and if I got the chance of playing in the first team again for West Ham I wouldn't change that for anything.

"They are still concerned about my health and that is obviously a priority, but hopefully when they think about the goalkeeping situation at West Ham they will consider me in the future."

Boss Glenn Roeder is delighted that Craig is continuing the road to recovery and adds:

"It was great to see Craig there today and fingers crossed he will keep achieving his targets for being fit and healthy."