Smith's loan deal may be extended

Norwich boss Peter Grant is keen to extend City's loan deal for injured Chelsea starlet Jimmy Smith. Smith has yet to make his competitive debut after damaging ankle ligaments in the Canaries' pre-season Dutch tour in July just a week after joining the club.

Norwich boss Peter Grant is keen to extend City's loan deal for injured Chelsea starlet Jimmy Smith.

Smith has yet to make his competitive debut after damaging ankle ligaments in the Canaries' pre-season Dutch tour in July just a week after joining the club.

Grant admitted he had not ruled out prolonging Smith's injury-hit Carrow Road spell beyond the original December 31 deadline.

The 20-year-old is now targeting a return to action later this month after intensive treatment under the watchful eye of Chelsea's medical staff.

“Chelsea are his club and it's down to them - but we'll assess the situation again,” said Grant. “Hopefully if they feel they don't need to bring him back and they don't feel he has got the games they thought he would after picking up the injury then we might be in a good position.

“The biggest problem is Chelsea. They have the Africa Nations to contend with this year. If they lose five or six players to that competition on top of injuries then they may feel Jimmy is best going back. He's very much part of that group and on the fringes of their first team squad.”

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Smith made his Premiership debut for Jose Mourinho's side in the Blues' 2005/06 title winning season before a hugely successful Championship loan spell at QPR last year.

Grant revealed he had been in constant touch with the England youth international during his rehab.

“I speak to Jimmy at least twice a week,” he said. “My staff are the same, just to see how he is progressing. He's been doing all his running at Chelsea. We know he's being looked after by the very best. They have a treadmill in the water at their training ground designed to aid quicker recovery times. I'd still say he is two to three weeks away from being involved. It's difficult to assess ankle injuries because they can feel great and then with all the twisting and turning you get a setback.”

Grant also refuses to put a timeline on defender Jason Shackell's ankle ligament damage. The captain missed City's Cardiff defeat after picking up the injury in the Carling Cup win at Rochdale.

The Canaries' chief confirmed Shackell is spending the first part of the international break in light training.

“If there was a game this week then he'd have no chance,” said Grant. “We are still assessing it and we'll give him as much time as we can ahead of the next match. If we don't think he's ready then I will take no risks. The good thing is it's not as bad as the injuries suffered by Jimmy or Fozzie.

“He feels a lot better than he did last week. It's settled down but we are taking it day by day. At the moment he's not training with the main group. Whether he'll be available by the start of next week only time will tell. There's tenderness there but nowhere near what it was last week.”