Hughes on road to recovery

Norwich City skipper Andy Hughes will step up his comeback from injury with a run-out for reserves tonight when City's second string take on their Tottenham counterparts in their opening fixture of 2006.

Norwich City skipper Andy Hughes will step up his comeback from injury with a run-out for reserves tonight when City's second string take on their Tottenham counterparts in their opening fixture of 2006.

Wearing a protective mask to protect the cheekbone he broke during the victory over Southampton just before Christmas, Hughes returned to action ahead of schedule at Plymouth on Saturday afternoon.

He came on for the injured Jason Jarrett 10 minutes into the second half and did a solid job for the Canaries on the right-hand side of midfield to help them come away from Home Park with a well earned point.

Having been forced to sit out City's previous five fixtures because of his injury Hughes now needs more competitive action to prepare him for a full return - and he will get it in this evening's Premiership Reserve League encounter at Carrow Road (7.30pm).


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The former Reading star is likely to be given between 45 and 60 minutes on the pitch, and if he comes through with no ill-effects he will be in contention for a start in Saturday's crucial Championship clash against fourth-placed Watford.

Manager Nigel Worthington was delighted to see his skipper back in action at the weekend, after fearing initially that he might be out until the end of the month.

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“Andy competed very well out there,” he said. “You are looking for people who want to get into the middle of things and he is most definitely one of those players.

“The most important thing, of course, is his health and thankfully he has come through with no problems.

“Now he needs more football, but with the injuries we have got at the moment we certainly won't be taking any risks with him.”

Tonight's game also sees the return of Jason Shackell, who be making his first appearance since damaging ankle ligaments during the reserve clash against Watford on October 3. The big defender, an unused substitute in the first team games against West Ham and Plymouth, will also be eased back into action and is unlikely to play the full 90 minutes.

Peter Thorne and Jim Brennan will also be action tonight but Keith Webb's side will include a fair smattering of youngsters, with Rossi Jarvis and Michael Spillane, who both featured in the FA Cup defeat against the Hammers, getting another chance to impress.

City Reserves (from): Lewis, Rossi Jarvis, Brennan, Spillane, Shackell, Gusterson, Eagle, Fisk, Howlett, Hughes, Thorne, Martin, Smart, Muddel, Arnold.

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