Boost for Moore as duo win fit­ness bat­tles

Birmingham Post - - SPORT -

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.”

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