Don Optimistic

Don Hutchison goes under the surgeon's scalpel this weekend insisting: "I'll be back better than ever."

As he prepares for the operation in Canada on the tear to his cruciate ligament, sustained against Middlesbrough two weeks ago, he is optimistic about the future and says: "It is not a difficult operation and hopefully it should be all right. I spoke to the surgeon and he said it is not a difficult one so I am looking forward to it.

"When I first spoke to him I was absolutely gutted because I was fearing the worst, but after talking to him and the physios they've said I will be back playing better than ever.

"It was a freak accident, something that happens once in a blue moon."

He says he will return refreshed, adding: "I've trained really hard since I have been down here and I've not had a rest from football for a long time, so I'm looking forward to that.

"I will rest through the summer and then train harder than anyone else to get back.

"If it is going to happen it is better now than at the start of the season because if it had happened then I would have missed a full season.

"As it is I'm going to miss the next 10 games, rest in the summer, and then be back 10 games or so into next season, so it is not the end of the world."

And he admits he still has to convince some fans of his worth, saying candidly: "It hasn't been a great season for me. I played better last year up at Sunderland, and enjoyed my football there.

"I wish I could have scored 10 goals again this season but it hasn't worked out and next season I will be back fitter than ever - and better.

"There is definitely more to come. My attributes are scoring goals and one from this season, although there are still 10 games to go, is not good enough from a player like me who normally scores goals when I get in the box.

"Hopefully when I get back I will score goals - I can't really put my finger on it, but there has to be a settling in period and when I was playing with Quinny and Kevin Phillips I scored goals.

"Quinny is the best target man in Britain and every ball that went to him, you knew he was going to win, and you gambled on them.

"We play a hell of a lot more football here and score perfect goals at times."