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Football: Hartson surgery.

JOHN Hartson yesterday underwent surgery on a long-standing back problem.

But the Wales striker remains a grave doubt for the crunch Euro 2004 Championship qualifier in Serbia & Montenegro on August 20.

Should Hartson lose his fitness battle, it will be a bitter blow to Wales manager Mark Hughes in the wake of yesterday's 2-0 defeat in the USA with the striker a key player in his plans for the Euro finals in Portugal.

Hartson missed Celtic's Uefa Cup final heartbreak against Porto last week with the back problem and went under the knife yesterday in an attempt to cure the injury. The operation of his herniated disc was successful, but Hartson must know spend the next 10 weeks recuperating.

``John Hartson is today recuperating in hospital,'' said a Celtic spokesman. ``The surgeon is said to be happy that it was a complete success and Hartson should return home some time tomorrow.''
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 28, 2003
Words:151
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