Ashton injury has City in a sweat

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City will be sweating on the fitness of man of the moment Dean Ashton as they bid to keep the Championship play-off berths in their sights this afternoon.

CHRIS LAKEY

Norwich City will be sweating on the fitness of man of the moment Dean Ashton as they bid to keep the Championship play-off berths in their sights this afternoon.

A niggling groin injury has kept Ashton sidelined from training at Colney this week, but it hasn't taken his name off the lips of any self-respecting Norwich City supporter.

Worthington desperately needs to be able to field his best team as City continue to hang on to the coat-tails of a bunch of teams all pinning their hopes on earning a place in the Premiership via the play-offs.


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The Canaries are five points off the pace, but a win today would keep the pressure on - while defeat could see them drop to the halfway position in the table.

Those fans won't know until today whether Ashton plays against Watford this afternoon, with manager Nigel Worthington prepared to give his record signing as much time as possible to recover.

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“It's just not right at the moment and we will see where he's at on Saturday,” said Worthington. “He was comfortable to play against Plymouth when he tweaked it, so we will see where he's at this week.”

Should Ashton miss out today, City fans will be wondering whether they will see their leading scorer in a City shirt again - the next match is 10 days away, at Reading, and by that time the vultures that began circling as soon as the transfer window opened, may finally have plucked him from City's grasp.

West Ham appear to have been close all week, but even that link took a new turn yesterday when it was revealed that the Londoners had agreed a club record £7m deal to sign Barcelona striker Maxi Lopez at the end of the season.

Should that be the case, their interest in Ashton may well cooled - and Worthington would certainly appear to be happy with that particular scenario, particularly with a vital match approaching.

Worthington refused to comment on Ashton's prospects of a move yesterday when he insisted: “There is nothing else to say on the subject. We want to focus on Saturday's game rather than any speculation that might be out there.

“A whole lot of things have got to come into the equation before decisions are made one way or another and as long as we are right at our end then that's the most important thing.”

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