McDonald in doubt for emotional return to Kent

PUBLISHED: 07:30 11 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:21 10 September 2010

Chris Lakey

Cody McDonald is facing a fitness battle ahead of his return to old club Dartford today as Norwich City begin their pre-season preparations in earnest.

Cody McDonald is facing a fitness battle ahead of his return to old club Dartford today as Norwich City begin their pre-season preparations in earnest.

The striker has been laid low by a stomach bug this week and although he was back at the Colney training centre yesterday, there is work to be done if he is to get a decent run-out this afternoon.

The game is part of the deal which brought McDonald to Carrow Road in January, and Gunn is clearly well aware of the anticipation in Kent ahead of his return.

"He will be a mascot if needs be," joked Gunn, who is clearly keen to keep his side of the bargain and put the striker on show. "He has had a little knock and a stomach upset, but he is here today and obviously very keen to be involved tomorrow.

"He will do some work today just to see where he is but he's had a couple of days in bed."

Gunn is likely to take a squad of 18-20 players to Dartford, although strikers Jamie Cureton and youngster Luke Daley have tight hamstrings. Adam Drury didn't train yesterday but will play.

"They will all travel," Gunn said. "They will be doing some work, whether it's actually playing or some fitness work because Dartford have a very good complex, a main pitch and then a training area around it.

"It's not pulled hamstrings it's tight hamstrings from hard training sessions - three a day at the moment. Thankfully they are not serious and are just managing them through. Being the first game for everybody we will try and give them as long as possible. It will be an 18, 20 man squad and we will probably utilise as many as we can."

Declan Rudd will be in goal today with Jed Steer having done the honours at Fakenham last night - and Gunn yet to decide on when to introduce new signing Michael Theoklitos.

Dejan Stefanovic won't play this weekend or in Scotland, with Gunn yet to decide whether or not take name him in his travelling party.

"He is not fit enough to play at the moment," Gunn said. "He has been training very well. It is a decision we need to make whether he comes to Scotland and not play or stay behind and train and make sure he's ready for the week after. We will assess that over the weekend."

Cambridge City's Scott Neilson, who is having a trial with Norwich, will feature today.

"He has done well, he's looking very fit," said Gunn. "He has obviously worked hard in the summer in the knowledge that he was coming here and it's just down to seeing him in a match situation.

"No decision on Scotland has been made yet. I don't know if we have permission to take him out of the country."

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