Forgotten man fighting his way back

PUBLISHED: 13:30 01 March 2006 | UPDATED: 09:14 14 September 2010

Norwich City's forgotten man Matthieu Louis-Jean today declared his determination to repay the faith that has been shown in him by Norwich City after a season blighted by injury.

Norwich City's forgotten man Matthieu Louis-Jean today declared his determination to repay the faith that has been shown in him by Norwich City after a season blighted by injury.

The 30-year-old Frenchman has suffered an injury nightmare this season after tearing a hamstring during training last year, and is still several weeks away from a return to full training.

But the summer signing form Nottingham Forest is desperate to make a return to show the Canaries' fans what they have been missing and to prove to manager Nigel Worthington his comeback will be worth the wait.

“The club, the staff and the players have all been great and very supportive. If I've been down at all there's always been someone there to cheer me up,” said Louis-Jean, who has made just two appearances for Norwich following his move from the City ground in straight swap for Gary Holt.

“The gaffer has also been very good and very supportive and is always checking on my progress, which is comforting,” he added.

There are hopes that Louis-Jean could return before the end of the season but for the moment the injured City defender has just practice balls and dribbling cones for company. Bumping into his Canary team mates on a daily basis still remains a few weeks away as the right back keeps his sights set firmly on a first team return at the start of next season.

Currently he's doing strengthening and running work, but Worthington did hint that he could return before the end of the season and has already dangled that particular carrot in front of the player.

“It's been really difficult at times,” admitted Louis-Jean, whose wife Elodie and 20-month-old daughter Emma have been there every step of the way.

“There was a lot of expectation and excitement at the start of the season and I was really looking forward to showing what I could do. I was really pleased to have joined Norwich, it was a good move for me.”

He added: “I played in the first two games and I was starting to find my rhythm,” said Louis-Jean, whose experience of Championship football, having spent six years at Forest before joining the Canaries, might have come in very handy this season.

“Then I picked up a small injury and before I could get back I tore my hamstring in training and that was that.

“I was on crutches for three weeks after the accident. It's been by far my worst time in football.

“I'm doing a lot of strength training on it at the moment and I've got some tests coming up to see how far off I am.”

Although the right-back position has proved a bit of a headache for Worthington this season there has been no demands put on Louis-Jean to return before he felt ready.

Worthington is determined that the main thing is to get him fit and make sure he stays fit.

“I'm very happy with my progress and I would like to be back before the end of the season, but it is not something that can be rushed as that could just do more harm to me and in a way the team,” said Louis-Jean.

“I'm determined to be ready for next season - that has to be the long term goal.”

Marc Edworthy's summer departure left a big hole in the defence and has not been properly filled with Jurgen Colin in and out of the side, loan player David Wright from Wigan not fitting the bill for one reason or another, and veteran central defender Craig Fleming being forced to play out of position.

“Craig's done a terrific job at right back as you would expect,” said Louis-Jean, “and I know how hard it is for Jurgen playing in his first season in English football having been there myself. I remember it taking me a while to adapt, it's so quick and physical.

“It's been especially hard for me as well seeing the number of injuries that we have had and I've not been able to do anything about it.”

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