Give me a break says Calum

PUBLISHED: 15:54 31 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:29 05 October 2010

By Dave Evans THE last time that Calum Davenport step-ped out on a football pitch before last week, he suffered a horrific broken neck which, not only could have cost him his football career, but could have had a major bearing on his life in general. Tha

By Dave Evans

THE last time that Calum Davenport step-ped out on a football pitch before last week, he suffered a horrific broken neck which, not only could have cost him his football career, but could have had a major bearing on his life in general.

That injury, while making his debut on loan for Watford against Charlton back in January, scuppered his chances of making a permanent move from the Hammers to Vicarage Road, so now the fit again defender is hoping for another crack at establishing himself with the Hammers.

"I'm just taking it game by game at them moment,'' said the giant central defender at the start of West Ham's pre-season programme last week, which he kicked off by being included in the side that won the opening game at Hampton & Richmond 4-2.

"I got 90 minutes under my belt at Hampton, so hopefully I can get stronger and stronger and just take it from there. I'd love to stay and play for West Ham, they are a massive club.''

That might seem a doubtful ambition. The reason Davenport went out on loan was because he was out of the picture at Upton Park, despite a heavy injury toll and since, England under 19 defender James Tomkins has arrived on the first team scene.

But former Coventry and Tottenham centre-half Davenport is determined to give it his best shot. "While most of the squad have been off, I've been training for a while, so that's been building my confidence. But to be honest until you get into game mode, you never quite know how it's going to go. But I felt quite good in the opener at Hampton.

"When you break your neck, the bone isn't the problem, it's the actual swelling and the nerve endings around it which take the time to heal. It's all sorted out now, so I am good to start playing.''

"At times, in the past, it's been a bit touch and go, but there have been no problems recently and I'm delighted to be fit again and playing for my place.''

Davenport, 25, knows he faces an uphill task to make an impact on the West Ham first-team front and is realistic about the future.

"The manager (Alan Curbishley) has said that I must do what's right for me and get back to being fit and strong. I've done that now and basically, now I'm fit, I'm back on trial to establish myself here and naturally I hope to force myself into the manager's plans.''

Whether he does or not and if his future does lie elsewhere, for now, Calum Davenport is just thankful for the fact that he is back playing.

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