Jimmy Smith: the early signs look good

CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant should know this afternoon whether or not he will have to start the season without midfielder Jimmy Smith.The on-loan Chelsea youngster suffered a calf injury during the latter stages of Wednesday's pre-season defeat in Holland and City boss Grant is expecting to know the extent of the damage on the club's return to Norfolk today.

CHRIS LAKEY

Peter Grant should know this afternoon whether or not he will have to start the season without midfielder Jimmy Smith.

The on-loan Chelsea youngster suffered a calf injury during the latter stages of Wednesday's pre-season defeat in Holland and City boss Grant is expecting to know the extent of the damage on the club's return to Norfolk today.

The early signs were encouraging after X-rays at a local hospital.


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"He had an X-ray and it showed that nothing was broken," Grant said.

"But we won't know any more until the next 24 to 48 hours because we need to let the injury settle down."

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Smith is clearly a doubt for next week's friendly games at home to West Ham, on Tuesday, and Dutch outfit Vitesse Arnhem three days later - but Grant will be more concerned with his availability for August 11, when City open their Championship campaign at Preston.

Smith's injury simply rubbed salt into the wound for Grant. The 20-year-old was brought in to replace Dickson Etuhu, who had been pencilled in as a major component on the City midfield this season, only to move to Premiership newcomers Sunderland in a £1.5m deal.

Along with Smith there are injury doubts over Darren Huckerby, Julien Brellier, Chris Brown and Jason Shackell.

Brown, who picked up a knock to the knee in training on Wednesday, and Shackell, who had a tight hamstring, missed the defeat against FC Zwolle in Holland as a precaution and their fitness is unlikely to be a major issue.

Brellier has still played only 45 minutes for City - the first half at King's Lynn last week - and as well as playing catch-up on fitness levels has a thigh injury.

Huckerby, while expected to be fit for Preston, has yet to start a pre-season game because of a groin strain and may sit out next week's fixtures as well as Grant wraps his most valuable asset in cotton wool.

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