IN A major boost for Giovanni Trapattoni and Ireland's plans for the Euro 2012 finals, Richard Dunne has vowed to be back in action with Aston Villa by the end of next month as the crocked star heads to the USA for treatment on his collarbone injury.
Fears had been expressed in some quarters that Dunne, who suffered the injury against Manchester City last month, would not play for his club again this season and would be heading to Poland in June lacking match fitness, but the Tallaght man is confident that he will be back, and he will spend a week with American football outfit Cleveland Browns next week in a bid to push on his rehab.
“I'm hoping that when I come back I'll be sorted and I can push on with things and start training again,” said Dunne.
“It'll take a few weeks after that but hopefully I can be back before the end of April. That's the aim but I'll just have to listen to the doctor here and see what's actually possible.
“It's been difficult. For anyone whose job is being outdoors, running around and doing constant activity, it's a very frustrating injury.
“You can't do anything. I've been sat
around doing nothing, so I just want to go out for a run. The doctor and the physios here have been brilliant with me. I trust their judgment and follow whatever they say.
“I know I'm in very capable hands and as long as I keep pushing myself hopefully I'll be back as quickly as possible,” added Dunne, who will use the trip to the USA as a way of speeding up his recovery.
“I'll be going to Cleveland in a week or so for about a week to see the Browns staff there,” confirmed Dunne.
“They haven't said exactly what they'll be doing over there.
“The manager, the doctor and the fitness coach went over to Cleveland a few weeks ago and the connection is strong between the two teams because of the chairman. I think he's fostered that relationship.
“Because of the nature of American football, the Browns have a lot of experience in dealing with the kind of injury I suffered, so any help I can get will be much appreciated.
“It will also be a great experience and a change of scenery for a week or so, which is important.
“It's good to just change the environment and I'm looking forward to it. I think it will be a good week.
“I don't know the specifics of what I'll be doing there but it won't be a million miles away from what we do here,” added Dunne.
The Tallaght man will initially target Villa's Premier League clash with West Bromwich Albion on April 28th for his return, but if he fails to make that deadline he could still feature in the remaining games against Tottenham (May 16th) or Norwich (May 13th) to get in some club football before the Irish squad link up in Dublin for the warm-up games against Bosnia (May 27th) and Hungary (June 4th).
Meanwhile Dunne sys that his layoff has allowed him the chance to return to Dublin and also spend time with his family. “I've been spending time with the family and that's been good,” the former Everton and Manchester City star insisted.
“I've also got back home to Dublin for a little bit. When you're away playing every weekend it's tough sometimes so I've had a few weekends at home with the kids.
“It's been nice in that sense, as frustrating as it is. That's helped to alleviate the monotony.”