Stoke City: Mama Sidibe ready to launch new comeback
MAMA Sidibe is ready to join Stoke City's first day of pre-season training on Thursday after winning the latest in a long line of battles for his fitness.
But the 32-year-old striker is still not sure when he can play his first friendly after failing to kick a ball in anger since being sidelined last October with a dislocated left knee.
Sidibe is back at the Britannia after spending the last six weeks in the south of France at a rehabilitation camp alongside the likes of William Gallas and Louis Saha.
He said: "I should be all right to do all the running with the other players.
"INTERIOR WHITE GRAINED PLASTIC-COATED DOORS (never paint again)View details
Supplied & fully fitted £79.50 per door, with a choice of 12 handles, polished chrome, satin & polished brass.
All doors/handles are on display at the showroom.
"FREE MEASURE & QUOTES"
Contact: 01782 940970
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
"To be ready for pre-season training was the most important thing for me because it will be my first pre-season for many years.
"It went really well in France and I worked really hard in building up the strength of the muscles in my leg.
"The leg is strong, but I have to make sure it is stronger than when I made my last comeback."
Sidibe, who is under contract until next summer, last saw action in a reserve game at Port Vale eight-and-a-half months ago when he collapsed in agony with his knee injury.
But that was just the latest in a long line of cruel blows that left him considering retirement.
In the last three years, the former Mali international has also suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury and twice snapped an Achilles tendon.
He hasn't played first-team football since the 2-1 home defeat by Tottenham in August 2010.
Now he will aim to come through the rigours of pre-season physical work over the next week before testing out the strength of his legs when the squad start working with the ball.
He will then sit down with manager Tony Pulis and discuss the possibility of featuring in the first pre-season friendly against FC Sion in Switzerland on July 19.
Failing that, there then follows three games in America on Stoke's trip across the Atlantic to play in Columbus, Orlando and Kansas.
"I haven't done any ball work yet," Sidibe continued, "but hopefully that will come very soon.
"That will be the next big step for me. I will have to see how that goes and then we can think about playing a game.
"Maybe it will be in Switzerland, maybe in America, I do not know yet."
Sidibe mixed his rehabilitation with keeping half-an-eye on Euro 2012 – but not on Stoke's transfer dealings.
"I know at Stoke we always take players late in pre-season, so I haven't really been looking at that yet.
"It would be good to see more players like Peter Crouch and Jonathan Woodgate coming in because they are great players to train with.
"Of course I was supporting France at the Euros because I grew up there, but it was disappointing they didn't go further.
"But the best team won because Spain are playing the best football."