Duo To Start For Reserves

Steve Lomas and Vladimir Labant will both play for the reserves at Upton Park against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.

It is a second comeback in two months for Steve, who returned to action in November for just two games following a long lay off with a knee injury, only to break a toe against Spurs after a tackle by Steffen Freund.

"Steve will start the game which I am very pleased about. He is probably a week or so ahead of schedule," says manager Glenn Roeder.

"We didn't think we would get into him until next week, but he has got a lot of confidence in playing, and we have got permission from the medical people that he should be okay.

"He certainly deserves a change of luck and I hope he comes through the reserve game with flying colours - I don't see why he shouldn't.

"He has basically been out for over a year now. We got him over the knee problem and he did really well when he came on at Charlton - I was really impressed with Steve's performance.

"Equally so with what he did against Tottenham in the first half in a team that was ravaged by injuries that day.

"So to get a broken toe just before half-time that has kept him out for the best part of six to eight weeks was really bad luck, and he really deserves for it to change."

It is a timely return to action for Steve as the games come thick and fast, and Glenn adds: "He has certainly worked hard, and what is important for us is that we could do with his fighting qualities, as well as his technical abilities back in the team.

"He is the sort of player that every side has to have."

Glenn has not completely ruled out Steve's prospects of making it onto the bench for the weekend, but he does say: "It is probably too soon after just one reserve game to expect him to be available for Saturday, but you never know.

"Probably the realistic target is he could be around the squad for the Southampton game which would be excellent news for us, because any trip down to Southampton will always be tough as Liverpool found out just recently.

"But if he is not quite ready I will always continue to show that patience and he should be okay for the home game against Blackburn.

"He is getting there and I don't think he is going to take as long as he did last time when he needed three, four, or five reserve games after he had been out so long with his knee.

"I really feel that one or possibly two should do it before he is back in the frame, which would be great news."

As for Vladimir Labant, he looks likely to figure at least on the bench at Chelsea on Saturday if he comes through tonight's game without injury.

"He travelled back to Bratislava last night to get a stamp on his passport that runs hand in hand with his work permit," says Glenn.

"He has trained well this morning and feels fine, so we will start him in the game as well.

"I'd like to think that Vladimir Labant will at least make the bench on Saturday. Depending on Trevor's fitness and depending on which way we decide to line up, he could well be around."

Liam Rosenior plays the second and final of two trial games before returning to Bristol City.

Kick off is at 7pm and admission is free for season ticket holders.

Team: Andersson, Rosenior, Labant, Lomas, Johnson, Soma, Newton, Garcia, Kitson, Riza, McCann. Subs: Iriekpen, Jackson, Byrne, U'ddin, Britton.