City silent over Bates injury fears

PUBLISHED: 08:12 14 February 2008 | UPDATED: 15:24 10 September 2010

Paddy Davitt

Norwich's Middlesbrough loan recruit Matthew Bates could be forced to cut short his Carrow Road stay amid fears he suffered fresh cruciate knee ligament damage in City's midweek Championship draw against Hull.

Norwich's Middlesbrough loan recruit Matthew Bates could be forced to cut short his Carrow Road stay amid fears he suffered fresh cruciate knee ligament damage in City's midweek Championship draw against Hull.

The club declined to confirm whether the defender had suffered a major setback in his latest bid to return from a series of knee problems.

Bates was already a serious injury doubt for City's weekend league trip to Leicester after limping off just before the hour mark against the Tigers.

“He's jarred his knee,” said Canaries' boss Glenn Roeder on Tuesday night. “Matthew has had one or two knee problems in the last year that have kept him out of football. We hope it's not too serious but we'll assess it.”

Roeder can still raid the emergency loan market for back up to first choice centre backs Jason Shackell and Gary Doherty should Bates' return to Middlesbrough just three matches into his initial loan stint.

Bates and Reading youngster Alex Pearce were drafted in last month after Roeder failed to land long time Birmingham target Martin Taylor in the January transfer window.

The 21-year-old made his Norwich debut as a second half substitute in City's recent 1-0 league win over Preston - Bates' first senior outing since damaging his right knee on loan at Ipswich in November 2006.

The luckless Stockton-born defender had to abort his original comeback when he suffered cruciate damage to his left knee in a Middlesbrough pre-season friendly at Darlington last summer.

Teesiders' boss Gareth Southgate sanctioned Bates' Carrow Road switch to step up his match fitness with the versatile defender's first team opportunities limited at the Riverside.

“Matthew has coped well, but it's a long and lonely road no matter how much support you are given from the physio and the other players and staff,” said Southgate last month. “Now Matthew is training with no problems from the knee, and we are delighted for him. It will be like starting again for Matthew. But we know from what we have seen previously that he is a good young player, and we will give him time to get back to a good level. It's important that he makes a full recovery, but it's good to see him back to the point where he can play part of a game.”

The highly rated defender signed a four-and-a-half year contract at his boyhood club in January 2005 just weeks after making his Premiership debut.

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