Injuries: It's Good News

Steve Lomas could be back in action in time for the Charlton game, while Don Hutchison is on the last leg of his rehabilitation programme.

That is the verdict of Glenn Roeder, who reveals:

"Steve Lomas has had four days' training and we are all touching wood and crossing our fingers that he has no reaction which means, if that continues to be the case, he won't have the operation we all thought he was going to have to have.

"Last week it was 80-20 in favour of him having an operation but now, with the injection he has had, it has hopefully cured the problem.

"We will go steady with him over the weekend and knowing Steve like I do he will be doing everything he can to be fit for the Charlton game.

"If we do have him for that it would be wonderful, but I would even be prepared to wait until the West Brom game if it means him being fit for the rest of the season.

"Him and Ian Pearce have had so much bad fortune over the last couple of years that they both deserve to stay fit for many seasons to come."

Fellow midfielder Don Hutchison is also progressing well, and Glenn says:

"Don is making rapid progress now and he is where we were on the 4th of July, back into preseason training, so I would like to assume that Don will be playing football again for us within a maximum of four weeks.

"We got him away with the Scotland squad this week because Bertie Vogts specifically asked if he could travel as he wanted him to reacquaint himself with the Scotland squad.

"Looking at him at the training ground this morning he was very happy with himself, and I think he can now see light at the end of the tunnel.

"Don Hutchison is a big player for this club; he has a lot of experience and we want him back in the side because, although he didn't score as many as he would have liked last year, he still has that ability to score a goal.

"He will be able to play with a football every day now and under the supervision of John Green he will do a little more every day.

"We expect him back in a month's time and that is great news for him and the club; it will increase the size of the squad and will create more competition for places, which is important."

As for the initial home fixture of the campaign, he says:

"It will be nice to entertain the double winners in our first home game; it will be a fantastic atmosphere and everyone will be up for the game.

"The fans will be right behind us and hopefully the lads can respond; we know it will be difficult against the team that could be this year's champions.

"It is certainly going to be a great championship this year between Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United."

SQUAD: James, Van der Gouw, Forde, Schemmel, Repka, Dailly, Winterburn, Breen, Pearce, Sinclair, Carrick, Labant, Garcia, Cole, Cisse, Moncur, Defoe, Kanoute, Courtois, Sofiane.