Injured Norwich City defenders Marc Tierney and Dani Ayala to miss rest of the Premier League season
Paul Lambert confirmed on Friday morning the season is over for injured defenders Marc Tierney and Dani Ayala.
Tierney has undergone surgery on a persistent groin injury after the left-back broke down in his recent reserves' comeback at Colney against Sunderland. The 26-year-old has only played a combined total of 90 minutes reserve football since originally damaging his groin in the 2-2 Premier League draw at Wolves back in December. The Norwich boss also revealed centre back Ayala will not play again this season after damaging ligaments in his knee in the same second string game earlier this month.
The former Liverpool trainee's Norwich spell to date has been badly hampered by injury after the Spaniard suffered knee ligament damage in the club's August Carling Cup exit to MK Dons before returning to the squad over the festive period. Ayala's blossoming central defensive pairing alongside Zak Whitbread was then cut short when both picked up hamstring problems in the home Premier League win over Bolton in early February.
Lambert believes it is important both get themselves fully fit over the summer for the start of next season.
'Marc has had an operation, so we won't see him again,' he said. 'Let's hope we have got to the bottom of it and he will be back for pre-season. Hopefully that operation will cure what he had. With Daniel, he is going to be out for a few weeks so his season is virtually finished as well. That is football. He doesn't need surgery. Not at the minute. He just needs some rest and hopefully he'll be okay. It looks like he'll be out for the season.'
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Zak Whitbread (calf) is not fit for selection for this weekend's daunting test against title-challenging Manchester City. Aaron Wilbraham has had stitches in a gashed eye injury suffered in the 2-1 Easter Monday win over Tottenham. Lambert has no fresh injury concerns from the club's successful Easter programme. Striker James Vaughan could have a reserve run out next week as he steps up his comeback from a hamstring injury.
'James is still a wee bit away. He hasn't even played a reserve game. He is training with the first team,' said Lambert. 'I think the reserves have got a game next week so we might look at that. He is doing alright at the minute. Zak is still struggling. Aaron seems to be fine. He has some stitches in his eye.'
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City were humbled 5-1 at the Etihad in December, but Lambert insists Norwich can mix it with the best on home soil.
'It will probably be different personnel who take the field of play,' he said. 'It was 3-1 for a long period and we then lost two goals right at the death so that gave a different reflection to the scoreline. You will get a different game, but no less tough. Manchester City will be strong favourites, like they are most games home or away, but we are certainly playing well enough to give them a fright.'