Rehman spared trip to the Middle East

PUBLISHED: 06:30 09 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:12 14 September 2010

Nigel Worthington breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when new-boy Zesh Rehman was spared a gruelling trip to the Middle East with Pakistan.

Norwich City manager Nigel Worthington breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when new-boy Zesh Rehman was spared a gruelling trip to the Middle East with Pakistan.

The on-loan defender plays international football for the land of his parents' birth and there were fears that he might be called up for their crunch fixture against Jordan in Amman on February 22.

But Rehman, right, is one of a number of high-profile Pakistani players who have been overlooked for the game - and a training camp preceding it in Bahrain - and he will now be able to give the forthcoming Norwich matches against Hull, Brighton, Derby and Crystal Palace his full and undivided attention.

Worthington was always hopeful that Rehman would be left out of the squad for Pakistan's opening qualifier for the 2007 Asian Cup - but is glad is absence has now been confirmed.

"Pakistan chose their players carefully from around Europe and are very sensible with the way they go about things," he said.

"That is good news for Norwich City - and I think Zesh is quite pleased as well, in as much as he can now concentrate on playing here and doesn't have to travel all over the place.

"There is no way we would have wanted to lose him for this game but we are bound by FIFA relegations and there is nothing we could have done if had been selected because it is a competitive fixture."

Meanwhile Worthington is still keeping his fingers crossed on the availability of another defender, with club captain Craig Fleming still feeling the hip injury he picked up at the weekend.

"It's settling down slowly but he hasn't trained at all since the weekend and we'll just have to see what he is like later in the week," he said.

Simon Charlton is certain to be missing on Saturday. He has now recovered from the bout of illness that ruled him out of the East Anglian derby but will be sidelined through suspension at Hull after picking up five bookings this season.

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