Dean Ashton is back in full training and is looking forward to returning to action against Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground a week today.
The 24-year-old striker was forced to sit out Sunday's 1-1 draw at Manchester City because of slight injury problems caused by a run-in with City goalkeeper Joe Hart in the midweek FA Cup match against the same opponents. "I got a dead leg off the keeper on Wednesday night and from the collision with him I ended up having a slight back problem as well," he said.
"The muscles were still in spasm on Friday so I wasn't able to travel to Manchester for the league game but after having worked with our back specialist here over the weekend I feel fine. I returned to full training yesterday and felt good over the last two days and so I will definitely be available for contention against Liverpool."
Ashton is the club's leading scorer this season with six goals from 20 league and cup appearances, seven of which were as substitute. His most recent strike came on his last top-flight outing against Fulham on 12 January. With Ashton feeling good and strong form throughout the squad, Alan Curbishley could well have selection issues against Liverpool as the likes of Danny Gabbidon, Nolberto Solano and Craig Bellamy are also closing on a first-team return.