Admirable Nelson awaits command

David Cuffley Defender Michael Nelson has declared himself fit and ready for a return to League One action after a double dose of cup-tie success with Norwich City.The 29-year-old centre-half has not started a league match since suffering an ankle injury at MK Dons in September, but completed 90 minutes twice in the space of four days as part of the back four that kept clean sheets in the FA Cup win at Paulton Rovers and the Johnstone's Paint Trophy match at Swindon, in which he scored in the Canaries' penalty shoot-out victory.

David Cuffley

Defender Michael Nelson has declared himself fit and ready for a return to League One action after a double dose of cup-tie success with Norwich City.

The 29-year-old centre-half has not started a league match since suffering an ankle injury at MK Dons in September, but completed 90 minutes twice in the space of four days as part of the back four that kept clean sheets in the FA Cup win at Paulton Rovers and the Johnstone's Paint Trophy match at Swindon, in which he scored in the Canaries' penalty shoot-out victory.

Now Nelson must wait to see if he keeps his place for the most important business of all - Saturday's league visit of Tranmere Rovers to Carrow Road (3pm).


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Fitness will certainly not be a problem for the summer signing from Hartlepool.

He said: “I feel good. We weren't really tested on Saturday as much as we would be in a league game, so Swindon was going to be a good test for me.

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“I knew they would put a strong side out. That's probably close to the side they put out in League One every week, so it's as strong a test as I could have hoped for and so far there's been no reaction from the ankle. Playing Saturday and Tuesday, my fitness is quite good.”

Nelson made very brief appearances as substitute in City's last two League One games, victories over Swindon and Stockport, before partnering Gary Doherty in the centre of defence at Paulton, then playing alongside Jens Berthel Askou at the County Ground on Tuesday, when he captained the side.

Whoever plays against Tranmere, Nelson is confident City can maintain a run that has brought five victories in the last six league games, and believes cup-tie success has enhanced that winning feeling.

He said: “The main aim is getting the club back to where it wants to be but we're on a good run at the minute and regardless of whether you're going in against a non-League side in the FA Cup or a weakened side in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, it doesn't really matter. We're on a roll at the minute.

“Whoever plays wants to come in and keep the club on a high and keep the momentum going.

“The manager and the coaching staff will do their homework on Tranmere and they'll get us prepared for it as they have with every game since we've been here so I'm sure we'll be more than ready for them.

“You know what to expect but it's the same with every game we go into - it doesn't really matter what the other team does. We just focus on us and we know if we do our jobs properly and start the game the way we want to, nine times out of 10 we're going to come out on top.”

Nelson chalked up a first on Tuesday when he scored City's third penalty in their 5-3 shoot-out win.

He said: “That's the first one I've taken in my career. I've had a few shoot-outs and everyone has always been shouting up to go and take one, but I thought I'd step up and take one.

“If the senior lads step forward and decide to do it, we can't have any complaints.

“I said to the lads that I don't think it went in the back of the net, it went in the side netting, so the 'keeper wasn't really going to get there, but I'm not sure whether Stephen Hughes' kick even hit the net. The 'keeper got a hand on it and it just trickled over. But five penalties, we scored them all, and big Fraser Forster made a good save.”

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