Midfield Trio Return

Michael Carrick, Steve Lomas, and John Moncur are all back in training.

While it still cannot be said for definite whether they will be fully fit to be available against Manchester United at the weekend, it is certainly an encouraging sign, and physio Simon Webster says of Michael, who has had a groin operation:

"Michael trained with the lads today, which was his first day out with the rest of the team, so he will probably have an easier day tomorrow and will try to ease him in for the rest of the week."

Steve has had a knee problem - his third major injury of the campaign - and Simon adds:

"The same will also apply to Steve Lomas, who also trained today and came through unscathed.

"I think the thing to think about now is that the Arsenal game is called off, and if they are both fit then obviously Manchester United is a key game.

"If they are not, then we have to consider that there is a two week break before the next game, so we have got time to get them fully ready rather than just throwing them in for one game."

Simon is happy with the way injuries are clearing up, and says:

"We seem to be progressing very well in terms of injuries, and we did well today; John Moncur trained and seems to have recovered from the knock that he had on his knee, Nigel has got a little bit of a knock but it is nothing serious, Shaun Byrne got some treatment and Hayden Foxe, who has had a bit of tendonitis in his knee over the last couple of weeks, also trained - he is another one that just needs to be eased back in."

Meanwhile, Simon reports that Don Hutchison's cruciate operation in Canada was a success at the weekend, and he adds:

"I spoke to John Green who is with him today, and his operation went very well; they are going through his early physiotherapy routine, trying to ease the swelling and the pain as we would do if he was here, and everything is fine.

"John has taken over now he has had his operation, and they were just going back to see the surgeon today just to make sure everything is okay.

"John will obviously guide him through his early stages and hopefully they will be back to the training ground on Friday."