Injuries bite for visit to Bluebirds

PUBLISHED: 09:45 21 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:23 14 September 2010

CHRIS WISE

Norwich City could have as many as eight players unavailable through injury tomorrow when they take on Cardiff in their final away fixture of the season.

CHRIS WISE

Norwich City could have as many as eight players unavailable through injury tomorrow when they take on Cardiff in their final away fixture of the season.

Manager Worthington will certainly be without seven members of his first team squad at Ninian Park - and that figure will increase still further if young defender Michael Spillane fails a late fitness test on the groin strain he picked up during Monday's 3-2 victory over Queens Park Rangers.

Joining long-term absentees Matthieu Louis-Jean, Darren Ward and Youssef Safri on the sidelines at the weekend will be Robert Green, Leon McKenzie, Peter Thorne and Zesh Rehman.

Green hasn't fully recovered from the minor ankle injury he sustained during the pre-match warm-up at Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday while Leon McKenzie is still struggling with the painful knock on the hip that ruled him out of City's Easter programme.

Thorne will miss the chance of playing against his former club after picking up a slight hamstring strain in training while on-loan defender Rehman - who probably wouldn't have featured anyway - has picked up a virus and is currently back home recuperating.

That just leaves Spillane as an either/or, and Worthington will be giving the 17-year-old academy starlet every chance to prove his fitness ahead of this afternoon's flight to south Wales.

"If Michael is right he will play," said the City boss. "He has played 80 minutes on the Saturday and another 45 minutes on the Monday and the intensity is all new to him. It probably caught up with him a little bit.

"Playing for the reserves helps you prepare for the first team, but it's a completely different tempo, a different level altogether and it's a case of how quickly you can adapt to that.

"We'll just have to see what he is like nearer the game - he has certainly got a chance."

If Spillane fails to make it then Worthington will either recall club captain Craig Fleming at right-back or hand Dutchman Jurgen Colin another chance to impress. The summer signing from PSV Eindhoven hasn't been seen in the first team since the 4-0 drubbing at Reading on January 31 and now would seem as good a time as any to have a fresh look at him.

With Thorne and McKenzie both out, and Ryan Jarvis failing to impress against QPR, Worthington is likely to revert to his favoured 4-5-1 away formation tomorrow, with Robert Earnshaw operating as a lone frontman on his return to Ninian Park.

The Welsh international will be aiming to follow up Monday's dramatic late double with his first City goal on his travels, and the City manager is certain he will be fired up for the occasion.

"Robert scored two on Monday so he will be going there on a high," he said. "He has scored six goals in 12 appearances now, which is a good return.

"He is going back to the club where he started his career and all his family are down that way. So I am sure he will be looking to make his mark."

Rossi Jarvis is available again after returning from England Under-18 action but he is only likely to travel if Spillane fails to recover from his groin problem. Otherwise it will be a case of every fit professional answering the call to duty, with no room for any more youngsters.

"We're limited to numbers on the plane so most of the young ones will be staying at home," said Worthington.

"We'll have 18 players travelling, so I shouldn't imagine too many new faces will come in."

Worthington confirmed yesterday that he had run the rule over Luton's Trinidad & Tobago international Carlos Edwards, a versatile right-sided player who can play either in defence or midfield.

The player was linked with a move to the Canaries in a national newspaper at the weekend and while the City boss was reluctant to discuss the matter in depth it's clear he could feature on his summer shopping list.

"He is a player we admire," said Worthington. "Other than that I don't think it is right for me or Norwich City to be taking about another club's player."

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