Safri has date with specialist
RICK WAGHORN Midfielder Youssef Safri is Norwich City manager Nigel Worthington's biggest injury doubt ahead of Saturday's Coca-Cola Championship trip to Preston North End.
Midfielder Youssef Safri is Norwich City manager Nigel Worthington's biggest injury doubt ahead of Saturday's Coca-Cola Championship trip to Preston North End.
With Paul McVeigh definitely ruled out by his lingering back trouble, it was the turn of Safri to cause the manager a headache as he pondered his options ahead of the game at Deepdale, where defeat would finally end the Canaries' wafer-thin mathematical chance of a play-off place.
With many bookies having already opted not even to offer a price on the Canaries reaching the top six this season, they simply cannot afford to lose - but three points away from home have eluded City since New Year's Eve.
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Safri's latest injury blow hardly helps.
"Youssef's going to see a specialist over the next 24 hours and after that a decision will be made as to what is required," said Worthington, pinpointing the Moroccan's troubles as "a niggling stomach injury" which currently leaves him 50-50 for the trip to Preston.
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McVeigh, at least, is a certainty not to start.
"He's not even training yet. He's not in the group yet," said Worthington.
A hefty whack to the back in the 2-1 home win over Sheffield United continues to bedevil the one-time Northern Ireland international.
"When do I expect him back? That just depends on how he reacts to each bit of work he does."
Worthington also confirmed that Matthieu Louis-Jean's wretched first season at Carrow Road is over following his chronic hamstring troubles.
"He won't play this season - he's just got to look to be ready for the start of pre-season training in the summer - to make sure he's 100 per cent right for that."
Otherwise, Safri's injury concerns open the door for Dickson Etuhu to return to Worthington's starting plans against his former employers.
It would mark a rare start for the former Preston powerhouse, who Worthington insists is "champing at the bit" to make his mark in a Norwich shirt.
"Dickson's settled in very well and has worked very hard," said the City chief. "It's just a case that he's got to be patient and his chance will come.
"For now we've just been making sure that when he gets the chance he's ready to take it."
Worthington also confirmed that midfielder Jason Jarrett, on loan to Preston, will not be permitted to play against the Canaries.