Michael Makes It

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Michael Carrick has won his battle to be fit against Chelsea on Sunday - in the nick of time.

With John Moncur suspended for the next two games it was vital that Michael, who has been missing since the Liverpool game, returned to the centre midfield, and physio John Green says:

"Michael will be training tomorrow and available at the weekend; that is a three week period since the Liverpool game and we had a couple of days within that time when he had a stomach bug and he couldn't train and get treatment.

"We hope that he will be fine for the weekend; he has not trained with the team yet but he will be tomorrow.

"The rest of the lads were off today so he did some sprints and some agility work which was the icing on the cake."

Steve Lomas is getting closer to fitness and John adds:

"Lomy is obviously going to be ahead of Ian Pearce for a comeback; our surgeon Tom McAuliffe was happy with him on Saturday and Steve is still getting used to the impact on the callous, so we are looking at a fortnight before he is fully training.

"Ian is still a bit tender because the tendon was split to do the operation."

As for young centre half Izzie Iriekpen, of whom there have been high hopes before an injury nightmare that has lasted three years, John says it is a case of 'wait and see' following his appearance in a friendly against Leyton Orient this week.

He didn't play the whole game, and John is reluctant to say that Izzie can put his problems firmly behind him yet.

He explains:

"I think it is a case of so far, so good; good news he played a bit part in a match and his knee hasn't swelled up - but there is always the danger with the articular cartilage with the tissue not repairing with the original material.

"If he gets away with it then great, but if he doesn't then not so great; it is a terrible injury to get, as you can see from Jamie Redknapp.

"But when you get it in the latter part of the career at least you have earned some money out of the game."

Overall, the signs are good at the moment for John and his team, and he concludes:

"It is the lowest injury list but they have all been key players - ones that would play in every game, so the pressure is there to get them fit as quickly as possible."

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