Paul Green proud of recovery from serious injury as he prepares for return trip to South Wales
PAUL Green says he is "proud" of his recovery from a serious injury – which he suffered on his last visit to Cardiff City.
Green returns to the Cardiff City Stadium tonight for the first time since damaging cruciate and medial ligaments in his right knee just over a year ago, as Derby County face the promotion-chasing Bluebirds (7.45pm).
After seven months out, the midfielder returned to first-team action in November and has since made 28 appearances – all but one of them starts.
The Republic of Ireland international, who turned 29 last week, has been pleased with the way his season has panned out.
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"I've tested the knee and I've played 28 games now, so I know it's strong and back to normal," he said.
"I'm not even thinking about where I did the injury or what happened in the past.
"Seven months of hard work has got me to where I am today and I'm very proud of that.
"To get back and play 28 games this season, I'm chuffed to bits with that and I'm just really enjoying my football."
Cardiff has been the site of some bad recent memories, not only for Green but for the Rams in general.
Derby have lost heavily on their last three visits to South Wales, conceding 14 goals in the process.
Their final visit to Ninian Park – three years ago – ended in a 4-1 defeat and Nigel Clough's men were thrashed 6-1 on their first trip to the new stadium in September 2009.
Last April, when Green was injured during the first half, the Rams were again defeated by a 4-1 scoreline.
"We've had some bad times there and it would be nice to get something out of the game," said Green.
"It will be difficult and we will need to prepare for it well but we will give it everything we've got."
Carling Cup runners-up Cardiff currently occupy the final Championship play-off place after a 1-0 win at Barnsley on Saturday.
Derby's 1-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough effectively ended their slim hopes of a late challenge for a top-six spot.
"For us, we just want to finish as high as possible and Cardiff will be looking to make the play-offs," Green added.
"They have changed the team around this season and (manager) Malky Mackay has brought some fresh players in, who seem to be doing the business for them.
"They're a strong team and got to the (Carling) cup final, so they're certainly no mugs.
"We'll be ready for a tough game."
Derby have three fixtures of the 2011-12 season remaining, with a visit to Portsmouth and a home game against Peterborough United rounding off their campaign.
Green's current contract with the Rams is due to expire in the summer and he is currently mulling over the offer of a new deal.
"They have put something together for me and I'm just thinking it over at the moment," said the former Doncaster Rovers man.
"Hopefully, we can get something sorted in the next couple of weeks.
"I keep saying that my family are settled here and these are a great set of lads.
"I'm really enjoying my football here, so we'll see what happens."
Green was linked with a move to Leeds United in a national newspaper over the weekend.
"I've not seen the papers but you do often get linked with other clubs when you are out of contract," he said.
"However, I'm a Derby player until something changes."