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Julian Bennett still has plans on helping Southend United's promotion bid this season
SOUTHEND United defender Julian Bennett is targeting a return to action in the New Year after undergoing surgery on his cruciate ligament injury.
The 28-year-old is expected to be out for between six to nine months with the knee problem he sustained on his Shrimpers debut against Yeovil Town a fortnight ago.
But, having now returned to the club to continue his treatment, Bennett has set his sights on still being able to play a part in helping Blues challenge for promotion this season.
“I’ve had the surgery which went well on the Saturday after I’d done it so now it’s all about the recovery and getting back to full fitness,” said Bennett, who joined Southend just before the start of the campaign.
“I had a week at home after the surgery and I couldn’t do much at all so it was pretty tough, but it’s great to be back around the lads now.
“There’s a long road ahead but having been in this situation before I know I can return stronger in the New Year and hopefully play a part in getting this club where it wants to be.”
Bennett injured his cruciate ligaments on his other knee while with Nottingham Forest back in 2008 and was out of action for 14 months.
But he does not expect to be sidelined for so long this time around.
“When I did it last time there were a few more complications, which meant I was out for longer,” said Bennett. “Hopefully I won’t have that this time but you can’t rush an injury like this because if you come back too soon after a big operation it can happen again.
“I’ll be doing lots of gym work as soon as I can but the whole rehabilitation plan will become clearer over the next few weeks.”
Despite the positive approach to his treatment, Bennett remains gutted to have picked up the injury.
The defender suffered the setback after tumbling off the side of the pitch and initially thought the injury was not too bad.
“At first I didn’t think it was serious and tried to have a little run to get back on the pitch but that’s when I knew it was bad,” said Bennett.
“I was absolutely gutted about the injury because it came on my debut just as I was beginning to really settle in.
“It’s a big knockback on a personal level because it’s never nice to pick up a long-term injury at the start of the season.
“But the support from everyone has been amazing because the manager, coaches, players, fans and the club have all been great.
“Having not been here long it has just shown me how good and how together this club is.
“There are people in a lot worse situations than myself but it’s clear to me that everyone at the club is pulling in the same direction.
“There’s a real team spirit here and I’m sure whenever things aren’t going well, the spirit in the camp will pull everyone through because it’s certainly helping me at the moment.”