Injury blow for Norwich City youngster

Norwich City's Academy squad is reeling from its second major injury shock of the new season after midfielder Michael Clunan underwent surgery on a severely gashed thigh.

Norwich City's Academy squad is reeling from its second major injury shock of the new season after midfielder Michael Clunan underwent surgery on a severely gashed thigh.

City Under-18s' first home match of the campaign, a 4-0 win against Huddersfield, was held up for half an hour on Saturday after an ambulance rushed to Colney to ferry the first year scholar to hospital.

Clunan had an operation to repair the damage at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital on Sunday morning and is now recovering back at home in King's Lynn, and Academy manager Ricky Martin is hopeful the midfielder will be back in action in weeks rather than months.

Martin is already without second year scholar Patrick Drmola, probably out for the rest of the season after sustaining a serious knee injury in a pre-season game against Peterborough in July.

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Clunan suffered his injury just before half-time in a collision with Huddersfield's Adam Colton, who was too distressed by the incident to continue.

Said Martin: “It was a 50/50 tackle, but Michael came out of it with a rather nasty laceration which resulted in quite a serious injury.

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“It was a severe gash along the inside of the thigh from just above his knee.

“Because of the nature of the injury we didn't want to move him. It happened 30 seconds before half-time was due so we asked the referee to call half-time so that the players could leave the field.

“We quickly put our emergency protocol into action, the ambulance was called and there was a 25-minute delay.”

Martin praised the way players, staff and medical personnel handled the shock of the injury.

“After 14 years involved in youth development I have not seen an injury like this,” he said.

“I'm very, very proud of everyone connected with the Academy - the doctor Ian Hotchin, the physio Phil Ward and the staff and the way everyone reassured Michael and his family. And the ambulance and N & N staff have been first class.”

City were leading 3-0 at the interval and added a further goal after the elongated break.

Said Martin: “It was upsetting for the boys as well but the team spirit is first class. They all felt for Michael and they will rally round and help him along when he returns to Colney.”

Martin was with Clunan when he left hospital just 48 hours after the incident.

“It is amazing what the body can cope with,” he said.

“We shall take full care of Michael in putting him back into football. We cannot put an exact timescale on it but I would like to think it will be weeks.

“Michael has been in the system since he was nine. He is a central midfielder, technically very gifted, and uses the ball very well.

“He was playing the role of the sitting midfielder on Saturday, a David Fox kind of position.”

Striker Drmola, 17, will not be back in action so quickly but is back at the training ground after surgery in Sheffield on anterior cruciate ligament damage.

“It is a shock when these things happen,” said Martin. “We have had bad injuries before such as Kris Renton's broken leg but now we have had two quite serious injuries in a short space of time.

“Patrick suffered a serious knee injury and we are all thinking of him as he recovers.”

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