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Injured Ferrie Bodde ready to play again - Paulo Sousa

Swansea City midfielder Ferrie Bodde
Bodde has played three times for the first team in the last 15 months

Paulo Sousa says star midfielder Ferrie Bodde is ready to return to first team action with Swansea City after five months out with a knee injury.

The £5m-rated Dutchman scored in a 59-minute appearance for the reserves on Wednesday, although he insists he does not want to rush back.

But Swans boss Sousa has refused to rule out including him in Saturday's trip to in-form Derby County.

"He is ready to play, he is training with us every day," said Sousa.

"Like at the rest of the squad and he can be in the first 11, but we will see what happens.

"We will think what is the best strategy [for Derby] and choose the best players to start the game against them."

Bodde returned last September from 10 months out with cruciate ligament damage but but two weeks after making his comeback in a reserve match, he pulled up eight minutes into his first league start in the 2-1 win over Sheffield United.

It was first thought the 28-year-old had suffered a reoccurrence, but a second scan revealed he did not need an operation and Bodde underwent rehabilitation in his homeland.

Throughout his rehabilitation he trained six days a week with Dutch fitness expert Rob Meppelink for six hours a day in a bid to return to full strength.

And now former ADO Den Haag player Bodde is hopeful of playing again before the end of the campaign and helping the Swans fight for promotion to the Premier League.

Swansea City defender Ashley Williams

"I'm feeling fit at the moment but I want to take it slowly," he said last month.

Fourth-place Swansea, unbeaten in 10, would welcome in-demand Bodde's return for the final run-in as they push for a place in the Premier League.

Bodde was the subject of two failed bids from Derby in the summer of 2008 when the Dutchman handed in a transfer request before he later changed his mind and signed a new deal.

Then last summer, Premier League side Wigan failed with two £4.5m bids as did Bolton who offered less despite still being out at the time from his original injury suffered in November 2009.

But he remains at the Liberty Stadium and it is expected he would at best earn a place on the bench for Saturday's trip to in-form Derby.

The Rams have taken 10 points from the last 12 including home wins against Newcastle, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United.

"It will be much more tough than when we played them at the Liberty [a 1-0 win in November]," added Sousa.

"The have reinforced themselves, they are stronger, more aggressive and have great quality.

"Hopefully we can get what we want in the end - three points."

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see also
Derby 0-1 Swansea
20 Feb 10 |  Championship
Rangel extends Swansea contract
19 Feb 10 |  Swansea
Bodde scores in Swansea comeback
17 Feb 10 |  Swansea
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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