Premier League

Collison targets early return

Hammers starlet ready to give Zola a welcome fitness boost

Collison: Over knee problem

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West Ham youngster Jack Collison is confident he will be back playing again before the end of the season.

The 20-year-old dislocated his knee during a Premier League game against Wigan on 4th March and was expected to miss the rest of the 2008/09 campaign.

However, he is scheduled to be back in full training with the Hammers by Wednesday and is setting his sights on a return to Gianfranco Zola's first-team plans.

The talented midfielder is also hoping to force his way back into international reckoning with Wales ahead of a friendly date with Estonia at the end of May and a 2010 World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan in June.

He knows he needs games if he is to be considered by John Toshack, but is optimistic regarding his chances of being involved in West Ham's final two games of the season against Everton and Middlesbrough.

Collison said: "I am aiming for one or two more first-team games now before the end of the season.

Europe

"I am ready for full training now with the rest of the boys and want to help us qualify for Europe."

He added: "I have been working really hard with the medical team at West Ham, there have been some long hours at the swimming pool making the knee stronger again.

"Last week I was doing lots of running and I want to start full training again on Wednesday.

"When the injury happened, my knee popped out of place and people felt I would not play again this season.

"But luckily it has proved not to be as serious in the end, so now I have got to concentrate on getting back to full fitness and to make one last push at the end of the season."