Date: 1st December 2008 at 8:43pm
Written by:

After a long, long road of recovery, taking in Brisbane and numerous stays in the NUFC treatment room, Mark Viduka finally waddled back onto the pitch at the Ripperside on Saturday in the 0-0 draw against the Beasts. Having got a less than friendly reception off the local yokels, the Duke of Pork was moved to comment:

“There was a chance I could have had an operation, but I didn`t want that because I could have been out for nine months and I don`t need that at this stage of my career. I didn`t expect to be out for six months, though, when it first happened. To be honest, I was playing with the injury for a while and it just got worse and worse.

I thought I could try to get through to the end of the season. But it got worse and worse. I`d love to stay fit until the end of the season. Achilles injuries are complex things. If I can get myself to playing week-in, week-out playing without getting a reaction that would be great.

Then I just want to get back to the business of scoring goals. It`s great to be back and just nice to get on. It could have gone either way and it was an end to end game. There was a lot of passion in it and it was a very quick game.

One goal could have won it and that is how derby games are normally settled. The last few occasions the teams have met have been really close. I think this one was similar. For my chance late on the ball came in from Jonas Gutierrez and I went to volley it in. I think in the end I stopped and lost my momentum and it wasn`t the best of chances.

It`s very important that we kept another clean sheet. We were always a threat going forward and we have to work just hard to keep teams out as we do to score. It was nice to hear our fans getting behind me. I can understand the Boro fans getting a bit upset. But the Geordie fans to me are unbelievable. During this time that I have been out people have been so supportive of me. And I`d like to thank them.”