Croft in bid for festive bonus

PUBLISHED: 10:56 25 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:51 14 September 2010

DAVID CUFFLEY

Winger Lee Croft is hoping for a Christmas bonus - a return to the Norwich City first team.

The Canaries' only summer signing has been out of action for four weeks since he damaged ankle ligaments in the 5-0 defeat at Stoke, missing four matches before today's visit of Hull City.

Winger Lee Croft is hoping for a Christmas bonus - a return to the Norwich City first team.

The Canaries' only summer signing has been out of action for four weeks since he damaged ankle ligaments in the 5-0 defeat at Stoke, missing four matches before today's visit of Hull City.

It will be at least another three weeks before the 21-year-old former Manchester City forward will be ready for a recall, but the news from Colney is brighter by the day.

“It's going well,” said Croft. “I've got my space boot off now so I can do a lot more aerobic exercising. So it's just a case of doing a lot of fitness work. The physio's really happy with my ankle, so it's just a matter of getting fit so that when I eventually do get back, I'll not have too much catching up to do.”

It was feared at first that Croft - with 15 senior appearances and two goals under his belt since his £600,000 summer move - may need an operation and could be out for three months, but he went to Sheffield for an arthroscopy 10 days after suffering the injury and although there was ligament damage, it did not require surgery.

He said: “When it happened it was really painful, really sore and I was in agony. I just thought maybe it'll be a couple of weeks, but it was a lot worse than I envisaged.

“I just hope that there'll be no more problems, I can get back fit and I'll be back into the swing of things and playing games.

“I've missed it so much. I'm not really a good watcher and I want to be playing. I've been going to all the games and I'm just dying to get back. The manager knows that I'm raring to go and I've done all I can and, with the help of the physio, hopefully I can be back as quickly as possible.

“I've been lucky in the past. I've not really had many injuries and this is my worst one in a way.

“I've missed quite a few games - the derby on Sunday, I was especially disappointed with - but at least the team has won a few games. I can't wait to get back and be added to the squad.

“The Christmas period is going to be very important for us. If we can get a few wins we'll be there or thereabouts for the play-offs.”

Manager Peter Grant, denied the services of new signing Luke Chadwick for four to six weeks when he suffered a gashed knee on his debut at Ipswich, is keen to get his other specialist right-sided attacker back in action.

“Crofty is three weeks away but he's looking good. He's worked really hard during this period to keep his fitness up as much as he possibly can,” said Grant.

“If it's down to his determination, he'd be back next week but we've got to be very, very clever on that because sometimes with these injuries you feel good in yourself until you actually join in. There's no way I can afford to have a setback with him when we're going into a busy period.”

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