Chris McCann ahead of schedule

BURNLEY have received a huge injury boost from Chris McCann.

The key Clarets midfielder underwent anterior cruciate knee ligament surgery in August, ruling him out for at least six months.

It was hoped the Dubliner would make a full recovery in time to come into Brian Laws’ plans at the business end of the season.

But the 23-year-old has made miraculous progress, and could be available well ahead of schedule after the turn of the year.

Laws said: “Chris is progressing so well, he’s done fantastically well over the last month.

“There’s been a real progression in him and a confidence, and he can’t wait.

“He’s chomping at the bit, his knee feels so solid and secure, and his frame of mind is fantastic.

“We might have a player there in January, you never know.

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“He’s on course, definitely.

“He’s actually ahead of schedule, and we’re really pleased with that.”

McCann has played only 100 minutes in competitive action for the first team since September last year, when, after starting the first six Premier League games of the season, he hurt his knee in a tackle with Sunderland’s Michael Turner, suffering medial ligament damage.

He recovered to play in the 1-0 FA Cup third round defeat at Reading in January, and he started the game at Bolton Wanderers, before being forced off with a further knee problem.

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McCann returned again for the reserves in April, but underwent cartilage surgery, enabling him to start pre-season training.

However, after looking in good nick in the first two games against Bury and Oldham, he suffered an innocuous clash of knees against Gombak in Singapore.

Consistent knee niggles led to a second medical opinion, and it was decided McCann required a full reconstruction of the cruciate ligament.

Laws said in August: “We are now going to lose him for a minimum of six months.

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“We must make sure it’s clear to everyone that this is not career threatening, and the plus is that he will make a full recovery and eventually be 100% right and not looking at percentages on whether he will be fit or not.

“In hindsight, which is a wonderful thing, the direction taken in the first place on the original injury was sceptical.

“Many surgeons don’t really want to go down the intrusion line unless it is absolutely necessary.

“They were hoping the ligament would reattach itself in normal circumstance and let the body do the recovery.

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“Unfortunately, for Chris, the ligament has not attached where it should, and that has left the knee fairly unstable, hence the breakdowns.

“Twelve months of Chris’s career have been missing, but hopefully he will make that up in the not too distant future.”

McCann, who has started over 150 games for the Clarets since coming through the club’s youth system, is out of contract at the end of the season, but, like Jay Rodriguez, Laws is eager to sort the future of one of his young stars out imminently.

Again speaking again his recontruction surgery, Laws said: “Chris is in the last year of his contract and we are very clear on that.

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“This will not impact on our decisions on Chris. We expect a full recovery and all it has done is put his career back 12 months.

“What we expect is to readdress his contractual situation because we are not going to let it run out.

“As I said, the welfare of the player is paramount and we have a great deal of time for the lad. He has been a fantastic player for this football club, and he will be!

“There is no hesitation at all from our point of view to review his contract and we will be doing that very soon.”