Anxious wait on Croft injury

Norwich City boss Peter Grant faces an anxious 48 hour wait to assess the extent of Lee Croft's niggling ankle injury. The 21-year-old will undergo exploratory surgery tomorrow after visiting a specialist for further tests on the ankle problem suffered in last month's defeat at Stoke.

Norwich City boss Peter Grant faces an anxious 48 hour wait to assess the extent of Lee Croft's niggling ankle injury.

The 21-year-old will undergo exploratory surgery tomorrow after visiting a specialist for further tests on the ankle problem suffered in last month's defeat at Stoke.

Club physio Neal Reynolds revealed the £600,000 close season signing could return within the next six weeks depending on the outcome of the arthroscopy operation.

“It's very much an investigative process rather than a case of carrying out extensive repair work,” said Reynolds. “He's going to have a similar operation to the one carried out on Adam Drury earlier in the season. If the arthroscopy reveals little damage, then we're looking at Lee possibly coming back in early December or even sooner.”


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Skipper Drury missed five matches after damaging his ankle in training prior to September's Crystal Palace home defeat.

Grant initially feared Croft was set for an extended spell on the sidelines if the England U21 international had sustained serious ligament damage in a crunching tackle at the Britannia Stadium. Reynolds confirmed the wide man could still require further surgery.

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“If the operation reveals more extensive damage then further surgery might be necessary,” he said. “Then we're into the longer term timescales the manager has already talked about.”

Croft has endured a stop start Carrow Road career since his summer arrival. The Wigan-born attacking midfielder played his first full 90 minutes in last month's win over Championship table toppers Cardiff after gradually building up his match fitness under Nigel Worthington.

A potentially longer term injury lay-off into the New Year could force Grant to prioritise his midfield options in the hunt for fresh reinforcements. Grant received a more positive injury bulletin yesterday on the fitness of defensive lynchpin Gary Doherty.

The Republic of Ireland international could return to training next week after it was initially feared he might be sidelined until after Christmas with the back problem aggravated during the East Anglian derby draw with Colchester.

Dion Dublin and Jason Shackell look poised to renew their makeshift centre defensive pairing for this Saturday's testing trip to West Brom.

Dublin deputised in Doherty's absence against Sunderland on Saturday after Grant admitted young academy prospect Michael Spillane was the only other recognised centre back on the books for the Black Cats' visit.

Veteran Craig Fleming is expected to be out until next month at the earliest after damaging his hamstring in a second half cameo at home to Colchester last week.

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