Karacan only focused on fitness and Reading FC survivalBy Lewis Rudd
June 14, 2012
Jem Karacan insists the thought of having just a year left on his contract will not distract him from helping Reading secure Premier League safety next season.
The 23-year-old has had talks with Royals boss Brian McDermott about extending his eight-year stay at Madejski Stadium beyond the 2012/13 campaign, however, the midfielder is more focused on getting himself fit in time for the new season and then reclaiming his place in the starting XI.
Karacan’s season was brought to a premature end when he suffered a broken ankle during a horror tackle from Leeds United’s Michael Brown during Reading’s 2-0 win over the Yorkshire outfit on Good Friday.
He has since had an operation to help repair the ankle – famously being dragged from his hospital bed to celebrate with his team mates following the 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest in April which confirmed the club’s return to the Premier League following a four-year absence – and told the Reading Post how he has recently kicked a ball for the first time in nine weeks.
And despite insisting he still “has a long way to go” in terms of recovery, Karacan has not ruled out pulling on the blue and white hoops for one of the Royals’ scheduled pre-season friendlies in July.
He said: “The ankle is fine. It is still a bit swollen but it is getting back to what it was.
“There is still a long way to go and the strengthening programming is going well – I have been doing that for the past couple of days – and the progress is getting there.
“I have started kicking a ball again too, which is obviously a big thing for me.
“I started walking again last week and the surgeon is pleased with how things are going.
“The boys are back in training in three weeks or so and I will be probably be doing some running work by then.
“It would be nice to be back fit for the start of the season, and hopefully I will be back a couple of weeks before that.
“I have to be right in myself and I don’t want to push it and have a setback.
“But I am confident I will be back by mid-July.”
The academy product made his competitive debut for Royals in 2008, following an earlier spell on loan at League One outfit Bournemouth.
And while describing the prospect of pitting his wits against the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea next season as a “dream come true”, the Turkish U21 international hopes to extend his stay at the top-table of English football beyond one season - and with McDermott's men.
“I have one-year left on my contract but I believe that will take care of itself,” he said.
“There has been some discussions with the club about extending my contract but for me the real focus is to get fit first.
“I have been with the club for eight years now and I want to play in the Premier League.
“Hopefully I can earn myself a new contract.”
Karacan went on to say he is still to digest the idea of playing Premier League football from August.
However, he believes such a prospect could start to sink in when the fixture list is published next Monday.
Although not fussed about who the Royals may face on the opening day of the season on August 18 – provided it is a home encounter – Karacan did express his disappointment about not being able to play Blackburn Rovers next term.
Both he and his brother follow Rovers, who were relegated to the Championship last season.
He said: "Really it is all about getting down to the nitty gritty.
“We are all looking forward to playing against the big boys next year, but it would be nice to start with a home game.
“I would have liked to have played against Blackburn Rovers as my brother is a big fan and I have always wanted to play at Ewood Park.
“But in the Premier League every game is big."
And while the club continue to be linked with a whole host of names as they look to add to the squad following the take-over of the club by Anton Zingarevich, Karacan will only believe the hype when they “walk through the Madejski Stadium door”.
The latest names linked with a move to Berkshire is 21-year-old striker Bjorn Sigurdarson, who plys his trade with Norwegian club Lillestrom, while the club continue to be in the hunt for free agent Carlos Sanchez, who has recently been released by Valenciennes.
“Everyone at the club is being realistic and everyone who has been in football a long time is linked with certain clubs,” Karacan said.
“But the club will not be taken to the cleaners and since Anton Zingarevich has come in we are being linked with some big names, which is great for the club, but no-one is getting too excited.”