Seán Cox is making "encouraging and proud steps" as he continues his recovery after being attacked earlier this year, his family has said.

The 53-year-old Dunboyne clubman was assaulted outside Anfield before Liverpool's Champions League semi-final first leg against Roma on 24 April, suffering injuries which left him in a coma.

He is currently receiving treatment at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire. His family has released a statement saying that he is "continuing to make progress" and has started to eat and drink again with the assistance of the nursing staff.  

Various fundraising efforts have been organised to support Mr Cox through his recovery since the attack and his family says that the Support Seán campaign has raised €1.1m to date.

The statement in full reads: "As we reach the end of 2018, I would like to extend a huge expression of gratitude to everyone who supported Seán and I, and our children Jack, Shauna and Emma, since Seán’s attack in April of this year.

"We spent a lot of time over Christmas with Seán in the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dún Laoghaire, where he is continuing to make progress. 

"He no longer has a feeding tube so is starting to eat and drink again with the help of the wonderful nursing staff. Seán has some more words and is trying very hard to sing along to familiar songs; these are encouraging and proud steps for us all.

Martina Cox, wife of Seán Cox, with their daughters Emma, centre, and Shauna alongside Dublin manager Jim Gavin (L) and Meath manager Andy McEntee (R) at a challenge game for Seán Cox 

"Our family used the time with Seán over Christmas to try and relay to him the public goodwill and support there has been for him over the eight months since his attack. 

"We have shown him social media posts, press clippings and videos from fundraising events across Ireland, England and further afield, the GoFundMe page and the website, letters and signed jerseys all in aid of Seán and his recovery. 

"This time last year we were an ordinary family looking forward to another New Year and what that would bring. Seán or I never dreamt that twelve months on, there would be websites or media interviews or fundraising events all brought about by what happened after Seán was attacked in Liverpool on 24 April.

"While it has been an exceptionally difficult time, what has helped me and the kids get through it has been the overwhelming goodwill of Seán's family, friends, supporters and the general public. 

"The Support Seán campaign has witnessed huge generosity and has raised €1.1 million to date. People whom we have never met have been there for us in so many, many ways, alongside our family, friends and local community. While we have a battle ahead again in 2019, our burden is lightened by this love and support for Seán.

"Thank you for everything you have done for Seán, our family and me during 2018. To the communities of Dunboyne, Dublin, Ireland, Liverpool and many other places across the world; to people who took part in events for Seán, organised fundraisers or donated online; to the child who sent five euro of their pocket money in an envelope to our house; we owe you a debt of gratitude. 

"Thank you and Happy New Year."