Fletcher targets next season

Midfielder still not ready to train after chronic bowel condition

Darren Fletcher: Looking forward to coming back as strong as ever next season

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Darren Fletcher is not yet ready to return to training but hopes to make his comeback from a chronic bowel condition next season.

The Manchester United midfielder has not played since November due to a condition known as ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease.

Fletcher is staying positive as he continues to recover and has taken over some of the coaching responsibilities Paul Scholes abandoned when he came out of retirement.

The 27-year-old now hopes to come back as strong as ever next season after expressing his thanks to everyone who has given their support, although there is still no precise date for when Fletcher will step up his recovery programme.

"I'm still not ready to come back playing or training yet but I'm listening to the medical people and trying to get myself right," he said.

Unpredictable

"The challenge and the focus is to be ready for next season.

"Me and the medical team decided it'd be best if I tried to get myself right and take an extended period out from the game; then come back fully fit and ready to play.

"It's an unpredictable illness and you don't know what lies ahead of you. But I've got to keep staying strong and keep believing. That's an important side of it: positive thinking.

"I've received great support from everyone in Scotland and down in Manchester. I'm hopeful and really positive that I'll be back and back to my best."