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ALI AL HABSI RECOVERY UPDATE

3 December 2013

Ali Al Habsi talks about his recovery six months after surgery.

It’s been six months since Oman international goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi underwent surgery on a persistent shoulder injury, but now he’s on his way back as he revealed earlier today.

“It’s been a long six months since my surgery, it was a big operation, but I’m getting there,” said the 31-year-old.

“I need a few weeks now until I’ll be ready for games, but I’m back in training and I’m very happy.”

Returning to the goalkeeping group has been a major positive Al Habsi explains:

“Getting among the group of goalkeepers has been really enjoyable and I’ve joined the full team a couple of times too.

“I’ve been training two or three times a week out on the pitches and I’m really focussed on getting back fit to offer my services to the team.”

Admitting it hasn’t been an easy process to sit on the side lines, Al Habsi had a message for the supporters after what he called ‘brilliant’ support:

“I just want to thank everybody for their support.

“I always read their Tweets and I feel very close to the fans because they are always asking me how I am doing.

“They miss me and I miss them too and hopefully I’ll be back soon.”

Although he has missed six months due to the surgery, Al Habsi said he would rather risk six months of his career than a prolonged period in the future, such was the nature of his problem.

He added:

“I was struggling with my shoulder all of last season and I continued to push myself.

“Eventually it was just too much and we decided that an operation was the best way forwards.

“If I had continued playing with the injury then it could have cost me a lot in the future.

“I would much rather sacrifice six months of my career by having the surgery than sacrificing years of my career had I let the problem continue.”

Now out on the grass and training, Al Habsi said he could be back in a Latics shirt sooner rather than later as he’s eager to be involved with the Development Squad.

“Being able to go out onto the grass now and dive around is a big sign of progress and I can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

“The only thing missing now is to be with the main group consistently and maybe in the next week or two I’ll be able to get a few games in the reserves.

“It will continue to be hard, but I’m determined to give my best and make sure that I can come back and be part of the team.”

With the departure of Owen Coyle as manager of the club on Monday, Al Habsi said the team and the fans must be strong ahead of another hectic schedule.

“It’s not easy when a manager leaves, but the players and the fans have to stick together because we have some very difficult games coming up, with trips to Leeds United, Millwall and then Maribor in Europe.

“Everybody is then looking towards the derby game against Bolton, so this is a very important period for the football club and hopefully we can get ourselves on the right track towards the Premier League.”

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