BY LISA SMITH , STAFF WRITER
Crocked striker Chris Iwelumo has spoken of his disappointment at missing the start of the Barclays Premier League season with promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers as he prepares for surgery today on the broken metatarsal suffered during his side’s opening pre-season friendly.
The 30-year-old was forced to fly back from his club’s pre-season tour of Western Australia at the weekend due to the innocuous injury but is confident he may have recovered sufficiently to play a part in the culmination of Scotland’s World Cup campaign with matches against Macedonia and Holland at Hampden in September. The target man suffered the injury in a tangle of legs in Wolves’ opening friendly, the 1-0 victory over Perth Glory, and has returned to the UK for surgery on the break which it is feared may keep him out for at least two months.
Iwelumo has since revealed that he actually felt discomfort in training prior to the game which kick-started a two-week tour Down Under.
“I was feeling it for a couple of days before the match,” Iwelumo said. “I was thinking it must have been a knock I had in training. I just thought it was a bruised bone. I was just running and then I felt it crack.”
The 6ft 4in talisman, who scored 16 goals last season but missed the end of Wolves’ promotion campaign from the Coca-Cola Championship because of a knee injury, said he was frustrated to miss the start of the season and the mouthwatering visit of West Ham United in the opening game in a month’s time.
“It is a low point because I’ve worked very hard through the summer to come back in the shape I am, but it’s part and parcel of football,” he said. “You have just got to take it on the chin but I am a little bit gutted.”
Iwelumo knows Scotland’s clash with Norway in Oslo on August 12 is an impossibility for him but he remains confident of being back in time for the autumn run-in. “It’s a fantastic squad and there are some great strikers there,” he said. “I’ll do whatever I can to get myself fit. The importance of those matches is unbelievable but we’ve got good players there, good characters.”
Iwelumo is awaiting the outcome of the surgery on his broken foot later today and a detailed diagnosis of exactly when he might expect to play again. “We will know more after the operation and take it from there,” he said. “I’ll be getting an operation (today) and then I’ll be going into a rehabilitation programme. I’ll be trying to maintain the fitness that I have just now. I’m in pretty good shape. I just want to keep on top of it and look after myself as much as possible.”