McDonald and Whitbread return for reserves

Chris LakeyNorwich City's promotion hopes will receive another boost today when striker Cody McDonald and defender Zak Whitbread return to action.Neither has featured since the 2-1 defeat at Millwall on February 6, when Whitbread picked up a calf injury and McDonald was sidelined by a thigh problem.Chris Lakey

Norwich City's promotion hopes will receive another boost today when striker Cody McDonald and defender Zak Whitbread return to action.

Neither has featured since the 2-1 defeat at Millwall on February 6, when Whitbread picked up a calf injury and McDonald was sidelined by a thigh problem.

They're now back in training and have been named in Ian Crook's strong starting line-up for this afternoon's reserve game against Peterborough United at Colney.

Left-back Adam Drury continues his own rehabilitation from a thigh muscle tear, having played an hour in the win over Southend last week.


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Drury was also an unused substitute in the first team's 3-1 away win at Huddersfield at the weekend - and if all three come through unscathed today it will increase competition and options among Lambert's table-topping squad.

Michael Spillane and Jens Berthel Askou are on the fringes of the first team picture and will make up an experienced back-line today, while Oli Johnson partners McDonald up front. It's a hugely experienced reserves line-up, with Paul McVeigh, Stephen Hughes, Matt Gill and Antony McNamee getting valuable minutes under their belts.

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Crook will have former team-mate Jerry Goss by his side again today after the City legend accepted an offer top help out with the second string.

'Jerry's been absolutely brilliant,' said Crook. 'He's such an infectious character to have around the place. He's played at the highest level, is enthusiastic and is somebody the boys will benefit from working with.'

Crook will be looking to avenge a 5-2 thrashing at London Road earlier this season by a side who are second in the East Division table, three points and two places above City.

City: Rudd, Spillane, Askou, Whitbread, Drury, McVeigh, Hughes, Gill, McNamee, Johnson, McDonald. Subs: Francomb, Steer, Kelly, Adeyemi, Dawkin.

t City will revert to friendly fixtures for the second string next season after announcing last night that they were withdrawing from the league.

The club say it 'will allow the management team more flexibility to choose when, where and against what opposition' the reserves play. Home matches will be played at Colney.

'Reserve team football is important to us, but leaving the league and arranging our own fixtures will give us a lot more choice about who we play and when we play them,' said manager Paul Lambert. 'We want reserve team games to be of maximum benefit to the squad in terms of first team players who need to get matches under their belt and youngsters coming through.'

t The reserves' away fixture at Colchester United, scheduled for Tuesday, March 30 has been postponed because the Essex side are involved in a County Cup final.

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