Stomach complaint sidelines Safri

Youssef Safri is a major doubt for tomorrow's trip to Preston because of an unspecified stomach injury. The Moroccan international made his first start for over a month against Leicester last week and looked someway below his best, despite producing a magnificent defence-splitting pass to set up City's opening goal for Robert Earnshaw.

Norwich City midfielder Youssef Safri is a major doubt for tomorrow's trip to Preston because of an unspecified stomach injury.

The Moroccan international made his first start for over a month against Leicester last week and looked someway below his best, despite producing a magnificent defence-splitting pass to set up City's opening goal for Robert Earnshaw.

A possible explanation emerged yesterday when manager Nigel Worthington revealed that the player had a niggle in the stomach area and would be seeing a specialist about the problem before the fixture at Deepdale.

There's a chance he could be given the go-ahead to carry on playing - but, equally, there's a possibility he could be ruled at the weekend, and perhaps even for the remaining five games of the season.


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“Youssef will see a specialist over the next 24 hours or so to see if he has got a problem,” said the City boss. “A decision will then be made on what is required. We'll look at it and then see what's what. It may affect his availability for Saturday, we shall have to see.

“It is within the stomach region. He has been all right in games but it's now starting to get in his way a little bit as far as training is concerned. It is something that has come on in a period of time.

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“It's not life threatening or career threatening or anything like that. I know what it is but until he sees the surgeon it would be wrong of me to say any more than that.”

Safri will be keeping his fingers crossed for a positive diagnosis, having suffered more than his fair share of injuries over the course of the season. He has started just 25 of City's 41 league games this term - a disappointing return for such a key player - with a variety of knocks combining with international commitments to limit his influence.

His latest setback came during the 4-1 defeat at Crystal Palace on February 25 when he injured his hip and had to be replaced just before half-time. He missed the next game at home to Stoke and was then used as a substitute for three matches before returning to the starting line-up last weekend.

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