Cherries: Jalal could be set for early comeback
TOUGH cookie Shwan Jalal is determined to win back his first-team place just weeks after having a three-centimetre hole smashed through his eye socket. Jalal sustained the sickening injury when he felt the full force of Marvin Bartley's elbow in a collision during Cherries' 2-2 draw at Leyton Orient in November. The 27-year-old goalkeeper, who had surgery to repair the damage, has confounded the medics by hitting the comeback trail earlier than anticipated. And Jalal, whose progress has been monitored by goalkeeping coach Neil Moss, is keen to continue his rapid recovery by reclaiming his place from deputy Jon Stewart. Speaking publicly for the first time since he suffered the injury, Jalal told the Daily Echo: I'm itching to get back playing and feel ready. I've worked with Mossy on diving at people's feet and there have been no problems. I've joined in a couple of full-contact sessions indoors and the next stage will be to train on grass. I've looked after myself and worked hard in the gym with Jon Dalzell our conditioning coach. The manager has always been of the opinion that if you've got the shirt and play well, you keep it so I'm under no illusions that I'm going to walk straight back in. Jon (Stewart) has done well but that is what is expected when people come into the team. The manager sets the standards and brings people in because he feels they can do a job. Jon has done that and competition is good. I'm sure he is going to be eager to keep hold of the shirt and it's going to be my job to get it back. Jalal had a silicone plate inserted into his eye socket when he went under the knife just days after he had sustained the injury. And within four days of the operation, he had started his rehabilitation. He added: At no point was there any suggestion that I wouldn't make a full recovery and the doctor was very reassuring. The concern was that he found a three-centimetre diameter hole where Marvin's elbow had hit me so hard. The only downside was when the surgeon said it was going to take six to eight weeks before I was back and I was determined to return quicker than that. Discussing the incident, Jalal said: I was on the crest of a wave because I had just come to collect a corner. Their keeper then took a free-kick from the halfway line and I called before coming to claim it. Marvin's elbow came out of nowhere and hit me. I don't think it could have caught me any sweeter and it knocked me on my backside. I knew something was wrong because there was blood everywhere and I was feeling sick. It was a nasty incident but, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. Jalal was keen to publicly express his thanks to Cherries physio Steve Hard, club secretary Neil Vacher, the Leyton Orient club doctor and the medical team at Wentworth Clinic that looked after him.
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