Jimmy set to emerge from the shadows

CHRIS LAKEY Jimmy Smith is expected to return to Carrow Road today, when Peter Grant will be hoping to take his on-loan Chelsea player out of the shadows.

CHRIS LAKEY

Jimmy Smith is expected to return to Carrow Road today, when Peter Grant will be hoping to take his on-loan Chelsea player out of the shadows.

The 20-year-old has been playing “shadow football” under the watchful eyes of the Chelsea coaching staff as he builds up his ankle after suffering ligament damage on City's pre-season tour to Holland.

Now the injury is healed it's up to Grant and his team at the Colney training centre to build up his on-field fitness.

“He will do most of his rehab football side with us,” said Grant. “He is not allowed any contact now, he is playing a sort of shadow man as you would say, taking part in the games but nobody is allowed to tackle him.

“It is just a matter of getting him that feel for it on the training again.”

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Smith will begin work with the rest of the City over the weekend, although next week's reserves game at Colchester has come too soon for him: much more likely is a run-out for the second string at Ipswich on October 15.

“His general fitness is not a problem because he is a fit lad, it's his match fitness that we are going to be short of,” said Grant. “We are more interested in his general fitness, he will play in small sided games, his sharpness, how his legs are, because at first adrenaline gets you through then after a period of time you have to be very careful you don't re-do the injury.

“All the signs from Chelsea are that his injury has healed very well and he has worked very hard on his rehab.”

Five days after the trip to Ipswich comes a Championship match at home to Bristol City - although that's another that might be too soon.

“If you said that to Jimmy he would probably say yes, but if he is not taking contact and he has been out three or four months it would be wrong for me to throw somebody in without any games,” said Grant. “But as we know here maybe that's the only personnel left and sometimes you have to do things maybe you don't want to have to do.”