Carrick On The Comeback Trail

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Michael Carrick is recovering well from his groin operation on Saturday - and has already begun rehabilitation work.

Physio John Green says: "Michael is doing fantastically well, absolutely tremendous. He has come in today and had a good walk around the training ground, which is really what we want him to do in the first week.

"He is going back to Newcastle at the weekend and then we start him off with some stability work and abdominal training work in neutral positions next week.

"By the end of next week he will be cycling and doing the cross training machine and then at the start of the third week he will run.

"At the start of the next week he will be twisting and turning, running faster, and doing a bit of ball work, and in the fifth week he should get involved in a game.

"Then in week five or six he will play.

"If the surgery is done well, which we always assume it is by Steven Snookes, then the player always does well.

"There is nothing to say it wasn't done perfectly by Steven, so everything is pointing to him doing really well."

Meanwhile, Ian Pearce continues his comeback trail with a game at Chadwell Heath after missing out on a reserve outing on Monday when the game at Southampton was postponed until April.

But that is not a major setback to his recovery programme, which is going well.

"It was all a bit impulsive anyway. He suddenly said 'I feel okay, I want to play' and I said he could have half an hour to see how it goes," says John.

"In the end it didn't come to pass, but it is no big deal. There is an 11-a-side practice game at the training ground here today which will be just as useful for him, and he will take part in that.

"It depends how he gets on. Our thinking is that it is the game situation that is crucial.

"He has got to be all right in a game situation. We know he is okay kicking balls around, twisting and turning, heading, but it is the rigours of a game and the only way of knowing is to put him in a game situation.

"If the thing reacts well it is just a case of him building up, and when he feels he is ready I have no doubt that Glenn will need him as soon as possible.

"It is probably a little bit unfair to put a time on it until he has played a game. I would like to see how he reacts.

"Last time when he came back before the operation he got involved in a little practice game, the knee started to hurt again and that's why we decided on an operation.

"I wouldn't like to put too much pressure on anyone and say he is okay until he has actually played but all the signs so far are very positive.

"He has not been getting any of the pain that he has been previously and he has done quite a high level of work, but obviously there is nothing like playing football, no matter what training you do, because the actual specifics of the game give you the true test of whether you are right or not."

John is mystified that there are doubts over Fredi Kanoute and Trevor Sinclair for Chelsea, and says: "Trevor will be fine and Fredi is no problem."

As for young centre half Izzie Iriekpen, who would also have played on Monday, John adds: "Izzie would have been looking forward to playing. With him it is more a case of wait and see because the more games he plays the better the scenario.

"At the moment he hasn't really got involved too much, but so far so good.

"He is running out of time as far as his contract is concerned because he has got until the end of the season, from his point of view, to do enough to put himself in the shop window."

Squad to face Chelsea: James, Hislop, Andersson, Repka, Winterburn, Dailly, Schemmel, Sinclair, Cole, Lomas, Courtois, Hutchison, Kanoute, Defoe, Moncur, Kitson, Labant, Foxe, Garcia, Minto, Soma, Todorov.

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