Cisse Catching Up

French midfielder Edouard Cisse is undergoing a strenuous fitness regime this week as he battles to be ready for Premiership action following his recent loan move from Paris St Germain.

Because of the timing of his transfer, he has only had one 45 minute appearance in a first team shirt, and Glenn Roeder explains: "Edouard had 45 minutes against Vitesse Arnhem on Friday but it was difficult for him because he had only been with us for a couple of days. He had no football at all before that - to all intents and purposes it was his first run out since playing for PSG at the end of last season.

"Although he had been at PSG in the summer I don't know how much training he had been doing, and we are going to monitor that this week.

"John McCarthy will get him to do the fitness tests that all the boys have to do and then we will ascertain how fit he really is."

Nonetheless, Glenn was happy with what he has seen so far, and he says: "He showed some good one and two touch passes against Vitesse, and he is certainly not embarrassed with the ball.

"We can play out from the back through midfield with Edouard because he is happy to receive the ball but what he is going to have to do when he gets fitter is get used to the tempo of the Premiership.

"The way he is built physically he is made for it as he is a strong boy, and I don't see any reason why he doesn't get up to speed. When he does, he will be a good addition to the squad."

Another new signing, Gary Breen, is also catching up after a post-World Cup break, and Glenn adds: "We got another 30 minutes out of Gary Breen on Friday and I think he has shown he will add a lot more strength in depth to our squad.

"I knew 11 years ago how motivated he is and he won't be content just to be a squad member."

Tomas Repka, Steve Lomas, Paolo Di Canio, and Vladimir Labant were the notable absentees on Friday, and Glenn explains: "Tomas took a hell of a blow to his hip on Monday night at Reading, which is why he didn't play at Southend against Vitesse Arnhem.

"Knowing him, had it been a league game he would have played but he is such a vital member of the team I didn't risk him.

"He has played very well in the summer games, and he is out there training again.

"Steve Lomas is a bigger concern. He finished last season in the form of his life, and it is the best I have seen him play week in, week out.

"He was a big influence in our midfield in the last third of the season and he left us fully fit.

"He had six or seven weeks off, came back, and within two weeks started to suffer some discomfort in the shin bone area to the extent where he has had to come away from training and we have not been able to play him since the Orient game.

"He has been having some injections in the area to solve any problems that are there, and he has had four or five days' rest now.

"If the problem reappears he would need minor surgery which would put him out for two or three weeks and mean he misses the start of the season.

"That would be a big blow for him and for us. He is a different midfield player to the other ones we have got at the club in terms of his style of play.

"He has got that aggressive nature to his game and he is good at geeing everyone up and pressing hard to win the ball back.

"Last year he scored some very important goals from the centre of midfield and he is the one midfielder that is different because Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, and Don Hutchison are much more offensive players, while Edouard Cisse would be similar to that as well - but I am hoping we will see an aggressive side in his play.

"We just hope the course of injections will have taken Steve's problem away.

"With Paolo we are being very careful. He has a small problem in his foot that has not stopped him training hard, and he has been out running with his trainers on.

"But because he has had a bruise between his second and third toe when he puts his boots on it squeezes his foot together and he gets a little bit of discomfort.

"Again, if we had been up and running in the season he would have put himself forward to play but we don't want to make the problem any worse.

"He is not losing out on his fitness and he is working hard every day. It is just a question of when we can get him back for the football.

"But even if he gets back to full training this week the fact that he has only played 65 minutes football in the last four months means he will need a game or two, perhaps a practice match, to get him up to speed and playing football again."

As for Vladimir Labant, he missed the game because of flu.

Of the match overall, Glenn reflects: "It was a tough game and they looked a little bit match fitter than us. I was told they had played more games and I thought that at times it showed.

"We were at our best in the first half and a lot of things that were good about us came from the source of Joe Cole.

"Everything he did had a touch of class about it, and he was really special on Friday.

"Fredi Kanoute had an excellent game quite apart from scoring the goal - his motivation and physical strength were excellent.

"We are all geared up to the game at Newcastle on Monday, which is why I made the substitutions when I did in the second half. I didn't want to take any chances with all those key players.

"Trevor stayed on for 90 minutes because he felt he needed that, and it was his first full game since the World Cup.

"If I was to have made one more change maybe I would have taken off Michael Carrick with 10 minutes to go but we had run out of substitutes by then."