Pearce Getting Closer

Ian Pearce is well on the road to recovery - despite taking a knock from a heavy tackle that gave the medical staff a scare during his comeback in the reserve match on Tuesday night.

Arsenal's Brazilian midfielder Edu caught him with a scything two-footed lunge, but physio John Green says there has thankfully been no bad reaction to the foul.

"It was a nasty tackle and I think he tried to apologise later but Ian was having none of it," says John.

"It was a bad tackle. Tony Adams gestured to a couple of other players in the team that he thought it was a ridiculous challenge and our attitude was they wouldn't have been very happy if someone had two-footed Tony Adams, who was coming back from an injury.

"But it was just a bruise on the shin and Ian looks at it as he is back playing football once things like that start happening.

"Ian was ready to play a couple of weeks ago but unfortunately the game was postponed so it was a case of him just carrying on training and having a few practice games at the training ground.

"He has continued to do his work and he has done very well. His knee is generally achey but the but the specific pain he had before the surgery has now gone and hopefully he will just get stronger and stronger with the reserve games that he will play in the future.

"He only played 70 minutes the other night and said he was very tired but there is a game at Welling next week and we would be looking for him to play a full 90 minutes in that and see what the reaction is."

Michael Carrick is making good progress after his groin operation, and John adds: "Michael is coming along fine. He will start running on Monday morning which will be two weeks on Saturday since he had his operation.

"He has been doing a lot of stability work and abdominal strengthening so he is bang on schedule. There is no swelling and no infection though he is a bit sore from the incision.

"But it should be plain sailing from now on."

Don Hutchison, who missed the trip to Bolton, is also recovering, and John adds: "Don had a scan earlier in the week and it revealed a very mild strain to the adductor muscle, No fibres are damaged at all and he is going to have a couple of days off at CenterParcs with his family where he is going to do a bit of swimming.

"He should be able to train with the squad next week as normal."

As for John Moncur, who also missed the game at the Reebok Stadium, John says: "Moncs jarred his knee quite badly in training and attempted to carry on playing with it throughout the week leading up to the Bolton game because we knew we were going to be a few players short for that game.

"He saw the specialist on Monday and had a scan. There is nothing significantly wrong, it is just that the knee took a bit of a blow and there has been a reaction of bruising and stiffness.

"But with a week's rest he should be able to reconvene next week with the others."

Meanwhile, Shaka Hislop is in his home country of Trinidad to collect an award.