Norwich City’s Seb Bassong returns for Derby visit; Alex Neil confirms Jordan Rhodes interest

Norwich City defemder Sebastien Bassong is back in contention for Derby County's visit. Picture by P

Norwich City defemder Sebastien Bassong is back in contention for Derby County's visit. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City defender Seb Bassong is fighting fit to face Championship title rivals Derby County at Carrow Road this weekend.

Bassong missed the 4-1 league win at Millwall with a knee problem but has trained this week to put himself firmly back into contention.

Alex Neil sanctioned Michael Turner's loan exit to Fulham on Thursday with Ryan Bennett nearing full fitness but the centre-back, along with Elliott Bennett, remain on the sidelines for the Rams' visit.

'Ryan is not quite there. He has played 60 minutes in eight weeks and for the last two weeks it has been full-on training,' said Neil, at Colney on Friday afternoon. 'He is one of the reasons Michael was allowed to leave, it won't be long until he is there and that position was over-loaded. There is no point having four guys sitting around.

'Elliott is another not for this weekend. He has cranked up his rehab with the physios and doing a lot of functional stuff in terms of running and changing direction but he is not quite there.

'Seb should be fine (for Derby). He trained this week. It was just unfortunate last week there was too short a period of time to get his knee right between midweek and Millwall. There was just a bit of swelling we needed to get rid of and on the day of that game when he woke up it wasn't right, but as this week has progressed he has been fine.'

Lewis Grabban has started his rehab after recent ankle surgery.

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'I am not going to put a timeline on Lewis at all,' said Neil. 'I want to give him the best possible opportunity to be back involved before the end of the season. He has started his rehab with the physios and working with them and it will be a case of seeing how quickly he responds to that and how we go from there.'

Neil confirmed he is in the market for a striker ahead of the emergency loan deadline on March 26, but dismissed speculation Blackburn hitman Jordan Rhodes is top of his wishlist.

'Jordan is one of many we have had a look at,' said Neil. 'I think it has been over-stated in the media how big our interest is. He is just another name that has been flung about. It has been made more of than it actually is.

That is going to be a difficult process so you are requiring loans and with 10 games to go most teams are fighting for something, whether its fighting to stay up get in the play-offs or win the league.

'There is a limited number of clubs where you can do any business. It is not something we are ruling out at the minute.'

Neil also confirmed League One club Colchester are keen on a loan move for academy product Jacob Murphy with talks on-going between the two clubs.