MORTON boss Jim Duffy has praised the character of midfielder Conor Pepper after it was exclusively revealed by the Tele yesterday that the 22-year-old will undergo surgery in April in a bid to save his playing career.

Pepper will go under the knife in what is a relatively uncommon operation down south, as he looks to begin another long road to recovery from a knee problem that has kept him out since last February.

Duffy is adamant the midfielder will give himself every opportunity to get back playing again - even if the road ahead is bound to be a long one.

Duffy said: “It’s just been a real tough time for Conor. This operation isn’t a common one, it’s not something that’s done on a regular basis with football players and there’s a high risk that it may not work.

“But he wants to take that risk, give it a go and we fully understand that. From our point of view we hope it is a success, but he’s under no illusions that the recovery period is going to, no matter what, put him out for another 18-20 months minimum.

“So just getting back to playing is going to be one tough test for him. But it’s one he’s prepared to take on and that tells you all about the boy.

“It would’ve been easier to say ‘it’s not going to work’, go back home to Ireland and maybe get on with his life. 

“But he wants to give it a go and that typifies his attitude and character.”

He continued: “Conor is trying to keep himself involved by working with the coaching staff. He’s only 22 years of age, he’s a really popular player with fans and with the rest of the guys.

“When he plays he’s effervescent, he’s non-stop, he has great enthusiasm and is a high energy player. 

“He’s been terrific for us so we want to see him recovering, even if it is a long, difficult process ahead of him.

“We wish him well when the operation comes around and it certainly won’t be the want of trying that holds him back.”