Further wait for Louis-Jean

CHRIS WISE Injury-plagued defender Matthieu Louis-Jean will once again be on the sidelines when Norwich City's pre-season campaign gets under way at Fakenham on Wednesday week.

CHRIS WISE

Injury-plagued defender Matthieu Louis-Jean will once again be on the sidelines when Norwich City's pre-season campaign gets under way at Fakenham on Wednesday week.

The 30-year-old right-back is making a steady recovery from the serious hamstring problem that has restricted him to just two first team appearances since his move from Nottingham Forest this time last year.

But he is still not fit enough to play a game and will miss the trip to Clipbush Park - and the subsequent fixtures against Cambridge United, Livingston and Falkirk - as he continues to focus on his work on the training ground.


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Manager Nigel Worthington isn't looking any further ahead than that at the moment but he clearly won't be rushing Louis-Jean back into action and, with that in mind, the Frenchman is already a doubt for City's opening Coca Cola Championship fixture of the season against Leeds on August 5.

"Matthieu will start playing games when he is ready and not before," said the City boss. "When he comes back we want to make sure that he stays back - and no risks will be taken.

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"He has worked very hard on his fitness during the summer and that work will continue here at Colney. He is making good progress but he won't be ready for the early games and the tour to Scotland. After that we'll have to wait and see."

Louis-Jean arrived at Carrow Road last July in a straight swap for long-serving midfielder Gary Holt and played in City's opening two games of the 2005-6 campaign. But he lost his place to Jurgen Colin after the disappointing 1-1 home draw with Crewe - and never played another first team game after that.

He did featured in three reserve fixture but any chances of a comeback were ruled out when he picked up the serious hamstring injury on the training ground and he has now spent the best part of nine months on the sidelines. In his continued absence Craig Fleming and Colin are expected to fulfil the right-back's role in the early warm-up games.

Louis-Jean and keeper Robert Green, who is also making a steady recovery from the groin injury that ruled him out of the World Cup, are the only two players who are not fit enough to join in full training.

Everyone else is being put through his paces in the scorching conditions at Colney, with Worthington's preference for two sessions - between 9 and 11am and 4.30 and 6.30pm - at least sparing them the worst of the heat.

As for new players coming in, the Norwich manager said he was still waiting to hear back from Luton after making a bid for their 6ft 3in striker Steve Howard at the tail-end of last week.

"There is nothing new to report on that one," he said.

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