Anderton can lose 'Sicknote' tag

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Darren Anderton is intent on ridding himself of his "Sick-note" tag and extending his career with Birmingham beyond the current campaign.

Anderton completed 90 minutes of action for the first time in seven months with a man-of-the-match display in the Blues' 3-1 Carling Cup success over Lincoln on Tuesday.

He has joined Birmingham on an initial pay-as-you-play 12-month deal after ending a 12-year association with Tottenham in the summer. But Anderton feels he can play in the top flight for a couple more seasons as he put himself in the frame to play some part in Saturday's Premiership game at Bolton.

Anderton said: "I hope I will be here at Birmingham for a few years to come. I'm only 32 and I feel I have two years in the top flight left in me.

"I have made a commitment to the club and want to do everything right. My family and I are moving into the area and I am certainly not going to be commuting from London.

"I want to give myself every chance to do well for this club and it was nice to get back out there playing again on Tuesday."

Anderton admitted: "It has been a difficult summer for me in trying to get my Achilles sorted out, but then to have the chance to come here was a great opportunity which I'm very grateful for. I have worked very hard, and the manager here gets the boys to work very hard. I think in the long run it is really going to benefit me when I am as fit as I can be in terms of physically running.

"[But] it's out on the pitch where you get that real fitness and I've got the base now from the work I've done on the training pitch. It will take a few weeks but the more games I play, the more I will improve.

"How long will it be before I'm fully fit for Premiership? I'm not sure. That's up to the manager. I speak to him about it and I trust his judgement. But I am very positive about the future."

Anderton was given the "Sicknote" nickname by Spurs fans after a succession of injuries but he played 358 games in his 12 years at the club - an average of 30 games a season.

He said: "It [the Sicknote tag] is just one of those things. I am used to it by now. I'm tagged with it. Obviously whenever I do pick up an injury or a knock, people tend to highlight it.

Bruce has admitted that the loss of last season's leading scorer, Mikael Forssell, for a minimum of six weeks is "a huge blow" after the on-loan Chelsea player underwent an exploratory knee operation.

He said: "One of the main reasons why we finished 10th in the Premiership last season was because we had a centre-forward who was amongst the leading goal-scorers in the country.

"He has had this niggling knee injury and it is a huge blow to us that he will be missing. If it is just a case of the knee having to be cleaned up and washed out, then he will be back in a month to six weeks. But we are just keeping our fingers crossed that they find nothing seriously wrong and that Mikael will be back sooner rather than later."

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