Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Injury's a Thorn in My Side ( Titus

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Injury's a Thorn in My Side ( Titus

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Titus Bramble entered hospital last night trying to come to terms with the biggest disappointment of his career.

Bramble, who is aiming to recover from a hernia operation in time for Newcastle's semi-final clash with Manchester United in five weeks' time, has been United's most accomplished defender under Graeme Souness, utterly transforming his fortunes in the North-East.

The former England Under-21 international was initially one of the early favourites to be kicked out of the club by the uncompromising Scot, but instead has responded superbly to his manager's man-management.

But his rehabilitation came to an abrupt end in United's 1-0 FA Cup quarter-final victory over Spurs on Sunday when he collapsed just before half-time with a hernia problem.

"I'm gutted, absolutely gutted," said Bramble, who was not going to be risked against Spurs until Andy O'Brien and Steven Taylor failed late fitness tests.

"This is as big a blow as I've had during my career. It is very hard to take, but I've got to accept what has happened and get on with my recovery.

"All I can do is hope that I'm a quick healer. I'm going to look after myself while I'm recovering from the operation and, with a bit of luck, I'll be back in time for the semi-final at Cardiff.

"I certainly wouldn't rule it out at this stage and that gives me something to aim for. I've never been this far in the FA Cup so it's a new experience for me."

It is uncertain whether Bramble's injury would have occurred had, as was originally planned, he been rested against Tottenham.

But Bramble insisted he had made the right decision in telling Souness he would answer his plea to play through the pain.

He said: "I was struggling before the match, but I woke up on Sunday morning and felt okay. I don't think I would have played if Andy O'Brien or Steven Taylor had been fit, but I was the fittest of the three on the day and said I'd play. …

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