Nelson to take foot off pedal

David Cuffley Defender Michael Nelson is hoping he will not need a summer operation after missing Norwich City's final match of the season with a troublesome foot injury.

David Cuffley

Defender Michael Nelson is hoping he will not need a summer operation after missing Norwich City's final match of the season with a troublesome foot injury.

The man who scored the Canaries' promotion-winning goal at Charlton last month revealed that he had been hampered by the problem since the middle of March, but hopes that plenty of rest in the close season will mean he is fit to return to training in July, and avert the need for surgery.

“It's just a fat pad on the sole of my foot. I've been getting injections in it since the Huddersfield away game, probably the last 11 games, just to get me through the game,” said Nelson, who was rested for the final League One match at home to Carlisle after playing nearly 75 minutes at Bristol Rovers the previous week.

“Once we managed to sew the league up the decision was made to give me an hour at Bristol then just to rest it to try to prevent an operation in the summer, so it's just precautionary at the minute,” he said.

Nelson, wearing a protective boot on his right foot at last night's city centre parade and civic reception, added: “I've had some scans today and I hope it will settle down enough that I don't need an operation.”

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He said it was a shame to miss the last match of the season but argued: “I sat down with the manager on the Friday before the Bristol Rovers game and was looking at the bigger picture, really. If it flares up again and it comes back I'm going to be struggling pre-season, so I need to try and get as much rest as I can and try to settle it down.

“It's better off that I miss that one game to, I hope, benefit me next season.”

The 30-year-old centre-half said last night's bus tour and holding the trophy aloft at Norwich Castle completed a memorable period for the players.

He said: “It's brilliant - coming in on the bus and seeing thousands of people and then coming in here and they're still here in their thousands. It's a really good day.

“The celebrations have been going on for quite a long time because we wrapped it up early. It's had a little bit of a chance to sink in but coming out tonight and seeing thousands of fans lining the streets, it really rams it home.”

Despite City's relentless march to the League One title, Nelson believes supporters will have realistic expectations on the club's return to the Championship, but does not rule out more excitement for packed houses at Carrow Road.

He said: “I think there is probably less pressure next year than there was this year. The expectancy level at the start of this season was a lot higher than it probably will be next year.

“The manager will go out in the summer and bring the people in who will be able to give us that little bit of hand and, I hope, make us have a successful season in the Championship.

“You sometimes see a team that goes straight up and people write them off straightaway and they finish in the top 10 or sometimes sneak into the play-offs. It's been done before and it will probably get done again and I hope we'll be one of the teams that do it.

“The lads will get a bit of time off and will be sent away with a programme to keep themselves fit and it's down to the individual to make sure they do the programme and get yourself ready for next year.

“If you don't do it, you'll get found out when you come back in pre-season and I'm sure the manager will make an example of you or make you do the work to get you up to the standard. Everybody wants to be fit enough and well enough come the start of the season to be in the manager's starting eleven for the first game.”

Despite City's awful start to last season, with a 7-1 defeat by Colchester on the opening day, Nelson said he never once regretted his move from Hartlepool.

“The way it was with 25,000 coming every week, it was only a matter of time before it changed,” he said.

“The manager came in, results started to change and the city started to get that little bit of a buzz around it. The start of the season wasn't ideal but you'd rather start like that and finish strongly than do what Leeds did - flew out of the blocks and then just sneaked in there at the death. We started poorly but we wrapped it up with games to spare.”