Boost for Moore as duo win fitness battles
CARETAKER manager Darren Moore has been handed a major fitness boost with Nacer Chadli and Sam Field fit to face Manchester United this weekend.
The pair made comebacks in the Under 23s’ Premier League 2 defeat at Brighton on Monday night after overcoming injury problems.
Field, 19, has been missing since the last international break because of a calf injury picked up playing for England Under 20s.
Chadli’s difficulties have been much more disruptive with the Belgian international restricted to just three Premier League appearances this season.
The midfielder hasn’t played for the first-team since he was forced off just 16 minutes into his comeback match at Stoke on December 23.
A thigh injury, originally sustained on international duty, has hampered him for much of the campaign.
“We can be optimistic Sam and Nacer will be available for selection at Old Trafford,” director of performance Mark Gillett said. “There were no issues at Brighton and the pair will continue in full training this week.”
Skipper Jonny Evans continues to make progress with the knee injury that kept him out of the Swansea game.
The Northern Irishman, who made 198 appearances during nine years as a professional at United, has an outside chance of featuring against his former club on Sunday.
Moore, acting head coach after Alan Pardew left the club last week, revealed on Friday that striker Daniel Sturridge had been “making good progress”.
Sturridge could be back in full training later this week and is edging closer to a return, but Sunday’s fixture will come too soon.
The England international has not featured since suffering a hamstring injury early in the defeat at Chelsea on February 12.
The 28-year-old has only played 78 minutes of football since joining on loan from Liverpool in January.
Moore will have to wait another week to have Hal Robson-Kanu back “in the mix.” The Welshman suffered concussion in a clash of heads at Bournemouth.
He sat out the Burnley and Swansea fixtures as a regulatory precaution which requires him to be free of all symptoms for seven days before resuming full training.
The Welsh international is targeting a return for the Liverpool game on Sunday, April 22.
Gareth Barry was understood to have undergone surgery on his knee injury yesterday.
The 36-year-old looks destined to miss the rest of the season after suffering the injury against Huddersfield in February. But Moore has been reluctant to pass judgement.
“I wouldn’t say he’s played his last game,” he said. “Let him get over that (operation) first and let the medical team see him.
“As for whether he’s played his last game, I wouldn’t be able to answer that.”