Paul Pollock ready for Prague challenge after injury scare

Paul Pollock on his way to victory in Athlone 10 days ago
Paul Pollock has avoided training on the boards since his win at the Irish Indoor Championships

Holywood man Paul Pollock will run in this weekend's European Indoor Championships after receiving treatment on an ankle injury which has been bothering him in recent weeks.

"Thankfully the problem seems to have cleared up and it's all systems go for this weekend," Pollock told BBC Sport.

Pollock, 28, will be involved in the 3000m heats on Friday evening with the final taking place on Saturday night.

"I've an open mind but I'll be hoping I can make the final."

The Northern Irishman believes that running on tight indoor tracks may have led to his ankle tendon problem and he has been staying off the boards since winning the Irish Indoor title in Athlone 10 days ago.

Pollock became the first Irish athlete to qualify for the Prague championships when he ducked under the standard of eight minutes by clocking 7:59.25 in Sheffield on 11 January.

The medical doctor knows he will almost certainly have to lower his personal best to progress to Saturday's decider but he never lacks confidence when facing such challenges.

Magherafelt man Adam McMullen improved his long jump personal best to 7.80m recently
County Derry long jumper Adam McMullen will be in action for Ireland in Prague

"I certainly think I can knock a few seconds off that time this weekend and I'll be looking for a good performance to set me up for the season."

The 28-year-old's main target for 2015 is the Berlin Marathon in September but he is also aiming to represent Ireland in either the 5000m or the 10000m at the World Championships in Beijing in August.

With the Northern Irishman missing out on Irish Sports Council funding for this year, he has had to return to work at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital in recent months.

"It's hard to fit in your training around your work although I am in the situation when I can tell them when I am available to go in.

"It's not ideal and it's hard for me to give athletics 100% dedication at the moment but that's the situation I find myself in."

After an impressive World Half Marathon Championship run last Spring when he was fifth European over the line, Pollock was confident that he did fulfil the criteria to achieve either an international class or development grant but it wasn't to be.

"It appears that pulling out of the European Championship Marathon because of injury on the eve of the race went against me.

"I've been told that I may well have got a grant even if I had put my foot on the starting line."

Long jumper Adam McMullen and 1500m hopeful Danny Mooney are the other Northern Ireland athletes in the 12-strong Irish team whose only realistic medal hope will be 800m man Mark English.

Ireland team for European Indoors 5-8 March

Men: 400m Dara Kervick (Clonliffe); 800m Mark English (UCD), Declan Murray (Clonliffe); 1500m Danny Mooney (Letterkenny), John Travers (Donore); 3000m Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders); 60m Hurdles Gerard O'Donnell (Carrick-on-Shannon); Long Jump Adam McMullen (Crusaders); 4x400m relay Timmy Crowe (Clonliffe), Mark English, Dara Kervick, Brandon Arrey (Blarney/Inniscara ), Harry Purcell (Trim)

Women: 800m Ciara Everard (UCD)