Dixon determined

While his West Ham United team-mates have either been representing their respective countries or sunning themselves on faraway beaches, Terry Dixon is working hard at Chadwell Heath.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international joined the Hammers on a three-year contract in February after battling back from a long-term knee injury.

Dixon, who has spent endless hours in the gym at the club's training ground in a bid to regain full fitness, recently travelled to Belgium with physiotherapist Stijn Vandenbroucke to continue his rehabilitation under the watchful eye of renowned knee specialist Dr Marc Martens.

Martens, who has worked with AC Milan's Gennaro Gattuso and Kakha Kaladze in Antwerp, examined Dixon before giving him the all-clear to step-up his fitness work. Now, the 19-year-old is back at Chadwell Heath and working hard with Vandenbroucke and other members of the club's medical department.

"It's just a case of getting fit for pre-season, which is why I'm in early," explained Dixon. "Hopefully, come next month I'll be ready because I haven't played football in ages and I just want to start playing again. Whenever I train I feel normal so I just need to work on my fitness now.

"Stijn from West Ham came with me to Belgium. He is from Belgium so I underwent some procedures with Dr Martens and then I did a week of rehab with Stijn. I then went on holiday to Bulgaria but I had a fitness programme to follow while I was over there.

"Touch wood, I'm physically right now and I'm back in to work on getting my muscles physically strong and then I'll start running when the boys come back in. I will be ready for the start of the new season."

Having been out of action for an extended period of time, Dixon is well used to working without the company of his team-mates. Since returning to the training ground the teenager has had only Hammer of the Year Scott Parker, who is recovering from a groin problem, for company.

"I would rather be here than on holiday to be honest, just to get ready for the new season," he added. "Scott Parker has been in this week, but other than that I haven't seen any of the other players since the end of the season."