Holt, Ward, Smith and Hughes all carrying knocks

PUBLISHED: 10:57 21 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:25 10 September 2010

New boy Andrew Surman, left, and Paul Lambert. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

New boy Andrew Surman, left, and Paul Lambert. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

David Cuffley

City boss Paul Lambert is alreadyhaving to keep a check on his casualty list with four senior players missing last night's friendly at Stevenage through injury.

David Cuffley

City boss Paul Lambert is alreadyhaving to keep a check on his casualty list with four senior players missing last night's friendly at Stevenage through injury.

Skipper Grant Holt, defenders Elliott Ward and Steven Smith and midfielder Stephen Hughes were all absent from the squad on duty in the 0-0 draw at Broadhall Way.

A fifth member of the first team squad, Danish defender Jens Berthel Askou, has been given time with his wife, who is due to give birth soon.

Ward missed the opening pre-season match at Dereham with an Achilles problem and Lambert does not expect any of the injured quartet to be fit for tomorrow night's friendly at Dagenham & Redbridge.

“Elliott's still got a bit of a knock but he's doing OK. Grant's the same, doing OK,” said Lambert. “Stephen Hughes got a kick a few weeks ago and that's just flared up, and Steven Smith got hurt in Germany.

“He seems to be the longer one out of them all - that's four big players back home. Jens's wife is due a baby and we just have to monitor that and see what happens.”

Asked if any of the missing men would be available tomorrow, Lambert admitted: “I'm not so sure, it may be a bit early.”

The City boss, who used 22 players at Stevenage, was nevertheless pleased with the performance - and another clean sheet.

He said: “Some of the football we have played has been really good in the three games. The lads have worked ever so hard the last fortnight we've been in. I can't ask for any more. It was a good test. When we move the ball we're a good side - no two ways about it. There is a lot of work still to be done and we've still got a lot of games to go before we're ready on August 6.”

City finished the match with a completely different eleven to those who started it - after one change at half-time and 10 substitutions on the hour, including the introduction of youngsters Richard Brindley and Matthew Ball.

“We have to give them game time and Thursday will be pretty similar. Slowly but surely we're getting there. It's a worthwhile exercise,” said Lambert.

“Some are only young kids. I'm delighted with the way the club's going, delighted with the young ones coming through. We have to breed our own and I hope at certain times that's what will happen.”

Lambert, meanwhile, hailed the squad's training camp in Germany and the 2-0 win over SV Bergisch Gladbach as good prepration for the campaign ahead.

He said: “It was terrific. The lads worked really hard in extreme weather conditions. We played a really good side on the Saturday, I thought, and won that. The workrate was excellent. The heat was extreme but they were great, they bonded well together and I hope that bodes well for the season.”

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