Fredi - Fitness Latest

Fredi Kanoute is going 'across the pond' in his attempt to resolve his long-running groin problem once and for all - with Glenn Roeder insisting he is desperate to get back into first team action.

Discussions with the player and physio John Green have led to the conclusion that a trip to see Vancouver-based consultant Alex McCetney is the best course of action, and Glenn reveals:

"We are sending him to Alex, a man that I have met on several occasions when he has travelled over to see us at Chadwell Heath, and he was certainly a major influence in the final stages of Steve Lomas' rehab last year when Steve needed that last push in Canada to get him fully fit.

"We have all got faith in him, including John Green who will be travelling with Fredi for the week - and that is how important we see getting him fit again.

"Alex will be working with Fredi for as long as it takes - and when he comes back to Chadwell Heath we want him in a situation where he can come straight back to football, not where he needs seven days of fitness work first.

"That is important to Fredi and to us - that when he comes back he wants to be able to go straight back into football.

"When he returns it will be three or four days of football training and then a game, but whether we have him fit for the midweek game against Blackburn or the Saturday game at home to Liverpool I don't know - and that is why people have got to stop asking when he is going to be fit.

"But we don't feel he has had a major setback where he is going to be out for the whole season; he has still got a big part to play in this campaign.

"He is a physiotherapist that specialises in rehab and he has a worldwide reputation.

"But it is not to be seen as in any way detrimental to John Green - he is as good a physiotherapist as any Premiership club has got - I have worked with some very good physiotherapists and he is up there with the very best.

"But this is just a case of getting him away from the environment of Chadwell Heath; psychologically, it will do him the world of good so that when he comes back he will be refreshed and, fingers crossed, 100% fit.

"And he will have the confidence that there is enough strength in the groin to get him through the 90 minutes week in, week out.

"It has been horrendous, really cruel for us that we have had Di Canio and Kanoute only start two games together this year.

"The important thing is people mustn't think we are back to square one; we are still on the road to recovery, but it is obviously taking longer than we anticipated or wanted it to.

"We are taking the view that this is the final push to getting Fredi 100% fit so that when he returns he stays fit and stays in the team.

"We need his ability, we need his physical presence - and we are going to have to wait longer, as painful as it is.

"It is no reflection on Ian Pearce, who has been playing up front, but at the end of the day Fredi Kanoute is a specialist striker - and a very good one.

"But Fredi wouldn't have made the game against Charlton unfortunately; I can't say when he is going to be fully fit and I don't think anyone knows just at this present time."

Glenn is keen to refute any suggestion that Fredi is anything other than fully committed to playing for the Hammers and prevent any whispering campaign to the contrary from developing.

"I had a long chat with him and John Green this morning and I have got to say at this point - and I have got to make this absolutely clear to everybody - that Fredi Kanoute wants to be playing football," stresses Glenn.

"He is a very unhappy person at the moment because the football has been taken away from him.

"It is not helping that things haven't gone very well for us in the league this year and he has not been able to play much.

"Make no mistake about it, he is a massive player for us - and one we can ill afford to have had out for the past 15 weeks.

"Everyone knows we don't have two Fredi Kanoutes, unfortunately; if you miss an odd game here and an odd game there you have to accept it as it part of football and part of a long season, but this has been really bad for us and for him - and I have got to make that clear.

"I am concerned that people would have seen that five weeks ago he played in the reserves, and then he went for a month before playing for us for 65 minutes on Boxing Day.

"Each time he has played he has finished the game feeling he is not right; he doesn't feel he has got the confidence to play on the left side where he has had the damage, and that he has got to play on his right side.

"He feels that the affected area doesn't feel strong enough to allow him to play without it being on his mind.

"He is too valuable to us to break him down and push him back before he feels confident; it is very important that he feels he has got enough strength in it and it is not going to let him down.

"If he does break down again he could be out for the whole season - and we cannot risk doing that to him or to us.

"As painful as it is for us, it is just as painful for him, and when I spoke to him this morning he was very upset by being out for this length of time; everyone has got to understand that.

"He enjoys his football, he is an exceptionally talented footballer, and he is very upset about it.

"But I must also state that he hasn't had a setback in terms of playing on Boxing Day making him be out longer.

"He was very positive about going away because he is desperate to be fit and take part in the rest of this season, to play as many games as he can to help us out of the hole that we are in.

"I don't want people to keep asking me 'when will he be fit?' because I don't know and I don't think any of us will know.

"I don't need to be asked the question - and he doesn't know himself.

"But we do feel we are getting closer to 100% fitness all the time even though it seems desperately slow at the moment.

"It obviously shows you the nature of the damage that he did back at Chelsea in September that it was a severe tear.

"No one must dare think that he doesn't want to take part in what has been a difficult season, and I could tell, talking to him today, how upset he is at not being able to be out there.

"He wants to play now and he wanted to play a month ago when he put himself up for the reserve game - obviously much too soon.

"Fortunately, he has not had major setbacks that have prolonged it any more, but it was obviously a severe torn muscle - and it is running the full course of getting completely better."

Meanwhile, Glenn admits that he would rather have had the three signings he is after signed and delivered by now. "We are working as hard as we can but until you get anyone signed up you just have to show more patience than you intended because I wanted players in on January 1st," he says.

"Things take longer than you want them to - but we are still very positive we will get the couple of players that we are working on in the next seven to 10 days."