Theoklitos to start Palace friendly

Canaries fans will get their first sighting of Aussie keeper Michael Theoklitos tonight as the Carrow Road treatment room begins to clear. Theoklitos has shaken off a hip injury and will start at Crystal Palace (7.30pm).

Canaries fans will get their first sighting of Aussie keeper Michael Theoklitos tonight as the Carrow Road treatment room begins to clear.

Theoklitos has shaken off a hip injury and will start at Crystal Palace (7.30pm), with manager Bryan Gunn hoping to see more of his players returning to full training before the end of the week.

Striker Cody McDonald, who hasn't played since a cameo appearance at his old club Dartford 18 days ago, could be back before the end of the week, while teenager Korey Smith is expected to join in today - 24 hours after fellow Academy graduate Luke Daley.

Midfielder Stephen Hughes sits out tonight's trip to south London but is expected to face Wigan on Saturday.

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That just leaves left back Rhoys Wiggins and midfielder Matty Pattison - although Gunn has to find somewhere to squeeze in Dejan Stefanovic's return to action following a lay-off stretching back to last November.

Theoklitos - who signed as a free agent after leaving Melbourne Victory - was with the City squad in Scotland where he was put through his paces by goalkeeping coach Paul Crichton, with Gunn opting to give games to teenagers Declan Rudd and Jed Steer.

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“Hopefully, once we get him on to the pitch and he gets an opportunity to show the fans what we've seen behind the scenes, Norwich City fans will be happy with the decision,” said Gunn. “It is one we need to get some minutes on the board for and we can see Theo starting tomorrow night.”

Next in line for an appearance will be Hughes, although it's softly softly for Pattison whose return to training last week after a calf strain came too early.

“Matty is still with the physios, still nursing his calf strain,” said Gunn. “He did come back out on the training pitch last week but it was evident it wasn't right, so it's making sure that is 100pc before he carries on.

“Stephen Hughes is just getting up to fitness, football fitness, and he's been working really hard. He's not going to feature in the squad tomorrow night, but he'll certainly be ready for the game against Wigan.

“He was a little bit behind in terms of his pre-season work. He'd been doing some running and weights, but certainly not any of the fitness testing and all the things that our lads have done, so he's had quite a rigorous programme. We'll continue to work him hard and, as I say, come Saturday he'll be ready for some game time.”

Wiggins' wait be longer.

“He is doing specialised work with (physios) Simon Spencer and Steve Lilley at the moment and he has also introduced some running and some ball work into that,” Gunn added.

“It won't be the end of this week, but we would be hopeful in the very near future of him joining us in full training. It depends how it builds up. We want to make sure he doesn't have a stop-start start to the season. We want to make sure that when he joins us in full training that will be him ready and able to go on with full training. It might well be he will be fit before the first full game of the season.”

t City are awaiting Burnley's next move over midfielder Darel Russell after the Premier League new-boys returned from their pre-season trip to America yesterday.

The Clarets have had a bid for Russell turned down by City, but are expected to come back with an improved offer.

“They were one of the sides that had made contact with us and had lodged a bid, so as we speak at this present time I've not heard anything and my last update from (chief executive) David McNally was that we've not had any further contact from Burnley,” said Gunn.

“That's where we are just now. It is up to Burnley to make another offer and then we'd make a professional decision on the basis of that offer. The ball is firmly back in Burnley's court on this one.”

City squad (probable): Theoklitos, Alnwick, Otsemobor, Spillane, Doherty, Nelson, Dumic, Drury, Lappin, Whaley, McVeigh, Tudur Jones, Gill, Adeyemi, Hoolahan, Holt, Cureton, Martin, Bright.

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