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Dunne hoping to return for Villa run-in as recovery picks up pace

RICHARD DUNNE is back jogging as he looks to accelerate his recovery from a broken collarbone.

The Ireland defender is hoping to play some part in the conclusion of Aston Villa's Premier League seasonm, with the ultimate aim of being 100pc fit for Ireland's Euro 2012 campaign.

Part of that process is spending time with NFL side Cleveland Browns -- who are also owned by Villa supremo Randy Lerner -- undergoing specialised rehab work.

Aston Villa assistant Peter Grant has revealed that Dunne is making progress, which is good news for Ireland fans.

The Tallaght man had spoken of the boredom that accompanied sitting around doing nothing when he was wearing the sling. Now that the sling has been removed, he can become active again.

Meanwhile, Shay Given has admitted that he will never get over the pain of Thierry Henry's handball in Paris.

Given is excited by the prospect of this summer's finals in Poland, yet admits that the anguish he felt on that night in the Stade de France lingers, even though the team showed huge character to bounce back.

"I won't have got over what happened in Paris in another 20 years," said Given yesterday. "That was a huge disappointment and when we missed out on the World Cup a lot of people might have felt sorry for themselves.

"But we showed in that campaign we are a good team. And thankfully we had the belief to reach another major championships."

Nevertheless, the Donegal man stressed that the Irish players are determined to do more than just enjoy the occasion, despite landing three difficult assignments in Poland.

"We are not just happy with that (qualifying). The draw couldn't have been much tougher; Spain, Croatia and Italy. But we are looking forward to it. The whole country has been given a boost by us qualifying.

"We have always responded against the bigger nations in the past. This same group has been together for three or four years now and the bigger teams know how hard we are to play against."

Irish Independent