Steve's Dutch Courage

Steve Lomas is finally looking at putting his injury worries behind him after another trip to Holland to get the all-clear.

Steve recently had another ankle operation in Holland following an operation which proved to be unsuccessful at the end of the season.

After a check-up on Tuesday in Holland he is now feeling happier - but is equally disappointed that he needed a second operation in the first place.

"What surprised the surgeon in Holland was that there was an inch long piece of bone floating around in my ankle which wasn't accounted for; he is pretty optimistic that that has been the trouble.

"He has obviously taken that out and is happy that the ankle is in good condition and that it shouldn't be long before I am out training again.

"He has said to build up and hopefully I will be back training in six weeks."

Of the original operation in May not working he says:

"I can't tell you how gutted I was, really disappointed at the end of the day; you do everything right, I delayed the operation probably six weeks until the end of the season and played with four or five injections, which wasn't doing me any favours.

"And then I got it done the day after the season finished to make sure that I was right for preseason.

"Then, to come back and go and see three surgeons who said the ankle still wasn't right meant that to say I was disappointed was an understatement.

"Plus, I cut my holiday short to go over to Canada for rehabilitation to make sure I was right for preseason."

Steve feels he has had more than his fair share of injury woe in recent seasons and explains:

"I was in a situation where I hadn't had a proper preseason for about two or three years and I so wanted to get a proper preseason behind me and feel fit and strong this season because I missed the start of the last one through a shin complaint.

"I felt I had done everything professionally to do the right thing for the start of preseason - and for a surgeon to say the ankle wasn't right and that I would need another operation just knocked the wind out of my sails.

"When you are told it is just a minor operation to clean out the ankle and that it will be no problem, only to come back and think 'well, this is how it felt before we had the operation' was disappointing.

"Then you are going to and fro from different surgeons and for them to say there is still significant bone in the ankle was not what I wanted to hear.

"The saving grace is that the surgeon who has done the operation now has said that the bit of bone that wasn't taken out, that he took out, was a massive piece of bone and he could understand where I was getting the pain and discomfort from.

"That all seemed to make it logical, but the period before that when I had the original operation I am coming in to John every day and I am saying to John Green 'look, my ankle feels the same - what can it be?

"I was told it was a routine ankle operation and the ankle was in good condition but needed a bit of a clean up.

"So I couldn't understand why it felt the same - I was starting to think there must be something major wrong with my ankle and was wondering if it is arthritic.

"You have these thoughts but I had a really good surgeon called Andy Williams who I went to in London and he put me on to Mr. van Dyke in Holland.

"He said it was an inconvenience because I had done everything that was appropriate to get back for the start of preseason, and at the end of the day it wasn't done.

"I don't want to get into slagging anyone off but I have had three surgeons who said the original job wasn't done - and needed doing again.

"I am hopeful that I will be back in four or five weeks doing some sort of training and that six weeks down the line I will be running and kicking a few balls.

"I couldn't say when I will be playing but I am pretty hopeful the recovery will move on pretty rapidly."

When Steve returns he will have a new manager to work under, and, of Glenn's departure, he says:

"I like Glenn; there is no two ways about it.

"At the end of the day management is about results and we were relegated with the highest number of points ever - and that was disappointing.

"I think there were mistakes made, not just from the players, but the manager and the board, and I think we have all got to accept part of our responsibility in that."

As for the reasons for relegation, the club skipper opines:

"The major thing, I think, that was the cause was obviously going in to the season with three strikers - one who was 34 coming towards the end of his career, one who was injury-prone, and one who was a young guy.

"The young lad at that time probably needed to be taken out the firing line.

"I think that in itself was where the board have got to hold their hands up and say that is their part where the manager couldn't get another striker - but the players have to hold their hands up because no matter what, we had an awful spell at home which was atrocious, really.

"To not win a home game in the league until January was nothing short of bad and no matter how well we finished we were always going to be up against it."

He does not feel the failure to beat Arsenal at home in August when it looked a probability affected things too adversely, however, and says:

"They talk about the Arsenal game but I just think that there were a lot of things that went on and one of the major things was, and it goes without saying, playing seven games with a centre half up front in a period where we were struggling.

"That says everything and no other team in the Premiership had to do that, not even the other teams that got relegated - they had more than three strikers.

"We all have to share the blame."