Earnshaw unlikely to return this season

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City's hopes of salvaging something from an increasingly disappointing campaign were dealt a massive blow with the news that top scorer Robert Earnshaw could be out for the rest of the season.

CHRIS LAKEY

Norwich City's hopes of salvaging something from an increasingly disappointing campaign were dealt a massive blow with the news that top scorer Robert Earnshaw could be out for the rest of the season.

Manager Peter Grant confirmed today what City fans had feared - that the training ground injury he picked up last week was every bit as bad as he had first feared.

Earnshaw underwent surgery on Tuesday and by this morning it was clear that, although the initial signs were good, the Welsh wizard will be out for months, rather than weeks.


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“We are hoping to see him before the end of the season, but if I was a betting man I would say that would be very remote,” said Grant.

“The ligament has come off his bone - it is something similar to Robert Green's injury, but not as bad, so that is one positive, but it is a similar operation he has had to go through.

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“He is fine - gutted obviously.”

Grant declined to give a target date for Earnshaw's return, but taking into account the recovery period and match fitness requirements, a comeback by the time May 6 comes round could be too soon.

“I have to be very careful on that,” said Grant. “If I get him end of April I would be absolutely delighted, so that tells you how the injury is, but I am not going to put that pressure on him. I put enough pressure on him and I think there has been enough pressure with speculation.

“I think people recover in different ways, but I am not going to set him back with forcing him into trying to play. A player's livelihood is more important for me as an individual than us as a group. We have to make sure the players are 100pc and not set them back because if I push him and try and get him back early the injury reoccurs and it goes right through summer time and into next season.

“I am not going to jeopardise it - once he is 100pc fit he will be back in contention. That could be next season, we don't know. At the start they are very happy with the way the operation went.”

Speculation that Earnshaw would leave Carrow Road during the January transfer window will clearly end now, but it was that very phenomenon which may have contributed to his enforced absence

“If it had been a league game and not in January I would have probably let him miss the Tamworth game,” said Grant. “But I knew all the hullabaloo that would have gone on after it if he had missed the cup tie, and the wee fella was desperate to make sure that wasn't the case.

“So it has probably come back to bite us a little bit. But obviously he is very down, because he knows it's an important time for us. He has been enjoying his football. I was speaking to him about the West Brom thing and he said he's thoroughly enjoying playing his football here because I had obviously spoke to him about the transfer window and what things can happen, and the biggest thing he said to me was 'gaffer, I am really enjoying my football, I'm more than happy, I didn't enjoy my time at West Brom'.

“All the positives were there and to end up getting an injury like that was a major disappointment for us.”

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