Lappin hopes for thumbs up

DAVID CUFFLEY City midfielder Simon Lappin has not given up hope of returning to action before the end of the season - tired already of being a frustrated spectator.


City midfielder Simon Lappin has not given up hope of returning to action before the end of the season - tired already of being a frustrated spectator.

Lappin has missed three matches since breaking the thumb on his right hand in the Easter Monday home defeat by West Bromwich Albion.

Though he completed the game, the injury required an operation and manager Peter Grant suggested his January capture from St Mirren would not feature again this season.

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But the 24-year-old Scot would dearly love to figure in Saturday's final home game against Southampton and the trip to Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday, May 6, the last game of the Canaries' Coca-Cola Championship programme.

Left-sided specialist Lappin was today expecting to have the stitches taken out of his hand and said he was hoping to return to training wearing a protective cast.

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He said: “It's been frustrating more than anything. I'm seeing the surgeon again and hoping to get a kind of plastic cast moulded to fit my hand and once I get that on OK, I'd like to think I could still play. They're keeping me going in the gym and on the bike and here's hoping I can have the stitches out.”

Lappin's injury was one of several for City in the same game, with Youssef Safri suffering a hamstring strain and Adam Drury losing a front tooth.

He recalled: “There were about 20 minutes left in the West Brom game when the defender Sam Sodje tackled me. He won the ball fairly but I went up in the air and landed on my thumb.

“I knew right away that I had done something to it and the referee asked me if I wanted to go off, but I decided to keep going with it. Then I slipped over and the first thing I did was put my hand out, which probably didn't do it any good.

“After the game it was very, very sore, so I mentioned it to the physio and had an X-ray and it was broken.

“I was very surprised it needed an operation because I thought that was a worst case scenario. I thought it may be put in a cast and be able to heal like that, but I'm told there is a risk of arthritis later in life if it's not done properly now. There's a screw fixed to keep the thumb in place.”

Lappin said he had initially tried to carry on training after suffering the injury.

He said: “I tried training with it but I found I couldn't run without tensing my arm up because I was trying to protect it. And if I fell on it, it may have caused even more serious damage.

“It's my right hand, so it's a bit of a nightmare. I'm right-handed and left-footed!

“But I've got my fiancée here cooking for me and doing everything for me.

“I had my arm in a sling after the operation, but I've got it out of the sling and it feels fine.”

Lappin said he was not the best spectator, especially having to miss such an occasion as Sunday's East Anglian derby against Ipswich.

He said: “It's a nightmare sitting watching games. The derby is one of those games everybody wants to take part in.

“There's a great atmosphere and the crowd are absolutely fantastic in the way they get behind the team.”

But despite an impressive run in the senior side, including that memorable injury-time winner at Luton, the former Scotland Under-21 international rejects the idea that he was established in the side before injury struck.

He said: “I wouldn't say I was established because I never take my place for granted. I was disappointed because I hadn't played well in the West Brom game and when that happens, you want another game as quickly as you can.

“But I'm loving every minute of it. I've always said I'm ambitious and wanted to play at this level. I've watched a lot of the English game on TV, but there's a difference between watching and playing.

“I've said before there's a physical difference between here and Scotland and I intend to get myself in the gym over the summer to prepare myself. I hope I will have a good season, but we've still got a couple of games to go this season first, and hopefully I can be involved in them.”

Lappin managed to return to Scotland during last month's international break.

“I wanted to sort out a few things about my house and visit my family,” said Lappin, now house-hunting in Norfolk.

There was more good news for him last night as former club St Mirren eased their Scottish Premier League relegation worries with a 2-0 win at Falkirk.

“It's the first result I look for after our games,” he said.

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