Elliot Under The Knife

Elliot Ward has surgery on Tuesday on his back problem, vowing to return to action in the new year.

The young centre half is hoping to defy the odds and get back to full fitness in the second half of this season, and fulfil his ambition to break through into the first team.

Elliot injured himself at Bournemouth in preseason and says:

"I have only played seven minutes of football this season so far, and for it to happen at the start of the campaign is a bit annoying because I haven't played any proper football yet."

Summer indications suggested that both Elliot and fellow centre half Glen Johnson might force their way into the first team after Christmas in much the same way that Glen Johnson did.

As it has turned out, Anton has already become a first team squad member, and Elliot says:

"We were both tipped to come through but unfortunately I have got injured - Anton has broken through and has done well for the team, so good for him.

"If I could do what Glen did to help the team I would be happy but I need to get the operation done first, get fit, and then think about helping the team."

The injury is a bitter blow for Elliot, but he is determined to speed up the recovery process, and he insists:

"I got told that it may be all season but hopefully I will be back in January.

"It was just a freak accident out of the blue; I started to get back trouble and my leg was hurting because of the nerves - it could have happened at any time.

"I have got a prolapse in one of my discs which is pushing on to my nerve down to my knee so they are going to trim the disc and one of the tubes from the nerves, which is smaller than it should be, is going to be widened up.

"I have been learning all about it since I have been injured; not many people have it but it is one of those things and I have got to get on with it.

"It is over three months now; at the start of my injury we thought it would settle down, but it got worse.

"I have been getting good care of the right people like Ian Cowell and the physio but they couldn't do anything else so they referred me to Mr. Afshar and now I am having the operation in Harley Street today.

"I was getting better then all of a sudden something happened and it got worse so it was back to stage one again.

"It will take about an hour for the operation and then it is two to three months with the physio and Ian, with a lot of stability work for my back."

Elliot draws inspiration from brother Darren, who faced the Hammers on Sunday for Millwall.

"When he was 19 he broke his leg and was out for a long time so he has been helping me through it as much as he can," he says.

"He has come back and is playing at the top level, so it proves you can come back from an injury and play as you should be - I just have to deal with it and get sorted as soon as I can."

Looking at the Millwall game, he adds:

"In the first half we started off well and once Connolly scored it settled us down a bit, but they started to creep back in the game.

"If we could have scored a second it would have been harder for them to get back in the game but we didn't play how we can play in the second half and Millwall started to run the game a bit in midfield.

"I think a draw was a fair result, but luckily we didn't lose the sort of game we should be winning."

And, talking of his brother, he says:

"He used to be at Watford and when Vialli took over he wasn't in favour so Millwall bought him and he has been there for the last three years.

"He did okay on Sunday and just thought they were unlucky they didn't win; I think if the game had gone on a bit longer they would have.

"I tried to get a few things out of him ahead of the game but he didn't give me any information.

"I think we were all a bit surprised because we didn't play on the day how we can - we have played much better and we need to in the future."

Elliot is a committed Hammer now but he does admit:

"I support West Ham but my dad was born in Manchester and is a Man U fan so I followed them as a kid as well."

Elliot knows it is not going to be easy breaking through to a central defensive role when Ian Pearce, Christian Dailly, and Tomas Repka all provide stiff competition, and he adds:

"I think Christian has been one of the better players and they are all doing quite well."