Ashton making excellent progress

Alan Curbishley has been handed a boost by the news that Dean Ashton is close to completing his rehabilitation from the broken ankle he sustained back in August.

The 23-year-old striker is set to finish his recovery and treatment with the Club's physiotherapy team in the next couple of weeks and will then move on to a period of one-to-one fitness work with Head of Sports Medicine Niall Clark, leading up to his eagerly-awaited return to full training.

"The ankle is feeling good and I have been very happy with how things have gone recently," says Dean. "I've been running and kicking a ball, which has been fantastic, and the physios have been first class with me.

"It's now five months since I sustained the injury and, as far as I am concerned, everything is on schedule and going to plan. Now it's just a case of taking each day as it comes until I am where I want to be.

"I'm not going to name a date for my return to full training with the rest of the squad, but I'm feeling very positive about the situation and I can see that I'm getting closer to reaching my goal."

Head Physiotherapist Steve Allen says: "We have been delighted with the progress that Dean has made recently, and he really has stepped up his rehabilitation in the past couple of weeks.

"To see him running and kicking a ball freely is wonderful, and we are now reaching the stage where he can really push on with his fitness work in the next few weeks.

"His next step will be to work closely with Niall Clark and, once he feels ready, we can look forward to seeing him back out there on the training pitch with the rest of the squad."