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Page last updated at 09:48 GMT, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 10:48 UK

Blanch signs new Wakefield deal

Damien Blanch
Blanch hopes to be fit for the start of the new season

Wakefield's Ireland international winger Damien Blanch has signed a new two-year contract at Belle Vue.

The 26-year-old, who is currently recovering from knee reconstruction surgery, was out of contract at the end of the season.

He returned to training at the end of Super League XIV and is confident of being fit for next season.

"It's feeling pretty good and I'm doing lots of running so I should be ready to play in mid-November," Blanch said.

"With no games until December I've probably got another six weeks to make sure everything is right."

The former Widnes and Castleford player, who has scored 19 tries in 25 Super League appearances for Wakefield, missed the last five months of the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament.

Competition for starting places is going to be fierce and that is exactly what you want in a squad

Wakefield coach John Kear

"Competition for places keeps people on their toes and it can only be good for the team.

"Touch wood injuries don't happen but if they do then we can all replace each other."

Wildcats head coach John Kear said: "It was really disappointing to lose Damien to injury because he had started the season in very good form after an excellent World Cup.

"He has been very committed and disciplined to his rehabilitation programme and I think we will see an even stronger Damien Blanch next season.

"We've got strength in depth in the wing positions next year with Damien, Luke George, Aaron Murphy and Dale Morton," added Kear, "so the competition for starting places is going to be fierce and that is exactly what you want in a squad."

Blanch joins Matt Blaymire, Sam Obst, Kevin Henderson and Luke George in agreeing new deals with the club.



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