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27/07/2004

I want to put things right at City

 I want to put things right at City

Nikos Dabizas believes he has unfinished business to attend to at Leicester City.

The 30-year-old defender returned to training for the first time yesterday since being a member of Greece's European Championship-winning squad in Portugal earlier this month.

Dabizas had the option in his 18-month contract to leave the Walkers Stadium after City were relegated from the Premiership last season.

But, despite considering offers from several other clubs, he finally opted on a return to the East Midlands to try and help Micky Adams' men bounce back up to the top flight at the first attempt.

"I had to think long and hard about the decision because I had some other offers from abroad and there was also the option of returning to Greece with my family," said Dabizas, who signed from Newcastle United on a free transfer in January.

"But I always felt wanted here and have no doubts that I made the right decision. I am fully focused on the task ahead and want to make amends.

"My first six months at Leicester were not successful because we got relegated and so now I want to put things right and help get the team back in the Premiership before my contract expires."

However, Dabizas knows that City will have to pull out all the stops if they are to repeat their feat of two seasons ago when they finished runners-up behind Portsmouth in Division One.

"The division seems to get tougher every year and with the likes of Leeds, Wolves, West Ham and Sunderland also challenging for promotion, it's going to be very, very difficult and demanding.

"But while we've lost a lot of important players, the manager has brought in some good young and experienced players.

"Now it's down to us to be mentally and physically strong while proving to people that we are capable of winning games on the pitch."

Dabizas has fully recovered from a hamstring injury that hampered his Euro 2004 campaign and is set to rejoin his team-mates when they return from their tour of Scotland later this week.

He formed an impressive partnership with youngster Matt Heath towards the end of last term but the centre-half, who has 68 international caps to his name, knows he faces a fight for a starting berth this term.

"With the arrival of Martin Keown and the return of Matt Elliott, competition for places will be high.

"But with so many games to be played in the Championship, this competition is ideal.

"However, I've got no doubts about my own fitness and hope to be involved in the Pepsi Max Challenge this weekend."


http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk

 

232 Appearances in England (175 for Newcastle United, 18 for Leicester in the Premier League and 39 for Leicester in the Championship). Total League-Cup-Europe appearances 550. National Team appearances 70. Goals total 40.