'Don't expect too much from Smith'

CHRIS LAKEY Jimmy Smith is set for his long-awaited Norwich City debut tomorrow - but caretaker boss Jim Duffy has warned against heaping pressure on the 20-year-old's shoulders.

CHRIS LAKEY

Jimmy Smith is set for his long-awaited Norwich City debut tomorrow - but caretaker boss Jim Duffy has warned against heaping pressure on the 20-year-old's shoulders.

The on-loan midfielder hasn't started a senior game for City since suffering ankle ligament damage on the pre-season tour to Holland.

But after intensive treatment at his parent club Chelsea and a 45-minute reserve team outing for the Premier League giants, he returned to Carrow Road, playing 70 minutes of Monday's second string clash at Ipswich.

Duffy watched from the stands but while he confirmed yesterday that Smith would be in his squad this weekend, it came with a warning.

“Jimmy is a creative player, he has got a spark about him, he has got good ability - good natural ability,” said Duffy.

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“But he is still young and I think it would be unfair to say Jimmy Smith has got to go and change the form of the team.

“All of the players have to improve their form. It is much easier for a player to come into a team playing with confidence, it is much easier for a player to come into a team where they are moving forward in terms of results, because he can slot in.

“I think it would be unfair to look at him and say, 'can he change the fortunes?' He can help by his ability and help by the fact he is desperate to play a game because he has been out injured for such a long time, but it is important we get the structure of the team right and hopefully he can be part of that.”

Smith has trained all week with no reaction to Monday's outing, but Duffy will be without midfielder Julien Brellier, who turned an ankle in that game, and central defender Gary Doherty, who missed the last game, at Queens Park Rangers, after aggravating a groin injury in the home game against Scunthorpe. Doherty is out “for several weeks” and is due to see a specialist to ascertain the full extent of the problem.

Dion Dublin picked up a back injury at QPR and is a doubt.