Crofts ready for return to action

PUBLISHED: 11:17 10 September 2010 | UPDATED: 10:34 14 October 2010

David Cuffley

Midfielder Andrew Crofts is fit to resume Championship duties for Norwich City as they take on Barnsley at Carrow Road tomorrow.

Midfielder Andrew Crofts is fit to resume Championship duties for Norwich City as they take on Barnsley at Carrow Road tomorrow.

Crofts, who has already scored twice for the Canaries since his summer move from Brighton, including the equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest two weeks ago, pulled out of the Wales squad for last week's Euro 2012 qualifying match in Montenegro because of an ankle injury.

But the 26-year-old was today given the all-clear by manager Paul Lambert to face the Tykes as City bid to build on their encouraging start to the season with a second successive home win.

Said Lambert: “He's fine. He had a knock on his ankle in the last home game against Swansea, but he's OK.

“I left it to him, I wouldn't curtail anyone's chances of playing for the national team. It's a great honour to do it, but his ankle flared up after the Forest game.”

Crofts has been one of the big success stories of the season so far.

“He is in terrific form at the minute and has been a big plus for us,” said Lambert.

“He's been vital to us. We played a 4-4-2 against Forest and he adjusted brilliantly to what he's been doing. He's on top of his game, that's for sure.”

Striker Simeon Jackson returned yesterday from international duty with Canada and is available for selection despite his transatlantic travel.

Lambert admitted to having one more injury concern but would not name the player.

“There's one but I'll just see how he is,” he said.

The City boss is still without the services of three defenders, with Michael Nelson sidelined for two months by the ankle injury he picked up in the 2-0 home win over Swansea, full-back Steven Smith yet to make his debut since suffering an ankle injury in a pre-season match in Germany, and Zak Whitbread not yet fit to add to his four senior appearances last season after weeks under treatment for a troublesome calf injury.

But both Smith and Whitbread are making progress.

“Steven's training with us, it's his first week back and he seems to be doing fine,” said Lambert, though he admitted Smith would need a couple of practice matches before being considered for senior duty.

“We've got midweek games for the first team at the minute which is pretty tough, but the ones that don't play need games. He's got to get a couple of games under his belt but he's been out for a long time.”

Whitbread has started running again and is “not too far off” rejoining full training.

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