Norris holiday comeback confirmed

DAVID Norris is set to make his Blues comeback over the holiday period.Manager Roy Keane would not confirm whether the 28-year-old, who has been out of action with a knee injury since the opening weekend of the season, would be in the squad against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday (kick-off 1pm).

Elvin King

DAVID Norris is set to make his Blues comeback over the holiday period.

Manager Roy Keane would not confirm whether the 28-year-old, who has been out of action with a knee injury since the opening weekend of the season, would be in the squad against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday (kick-off 1pm).

But the Blues boss said: “David is raring to go, and he will be involved over the next four days with another match coming up at home to Queens Park Rangers on Monday afternoon.

“We have missed David and it is great to have him back. He has shown himself in a good light during his absence and his determination to get back to fitness.”

Norris' return is particularly timely as midfielders Grant Leadbitter and Jon Walters (although he can also play up front) are both serving one-match bans after being shown five yellow cards.

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Also missing on Boxing Day will be striker Stern John with terms of his month-long loan at Portman Road dictating that he would not play against his parent club.

Keane is not concerned unduly about not having John available on Saturday and explained: “Stern would not have featured in both Christmas games anyway.

“His absence gives a chance to someone else at Palace, and we have large numbers to choose from.”

Alex Bruce was playing in a practice game today and is expected to come through to be available for selection, while Keane confirmed that Lee Martin is now fully fit after his heel problem and has been 'showing up well in training and will come into consideration'.

“With David (Norris) and Alex (Bruce) back and Kevin Lisbie coming back next week it will be like having additions to the squad,” said Keane, who has yet to decide on the futures of three players whose contracts run out next month.

“With Stern John we will wait until after Christmas as on a short-term loan I think that is right. Stern has done well and I have already had a brief word with him.

“I'm hoping that Jack Colback will stay longer and Sunderland appear happy for this to happen, while Arran Lee-Barrett's contract goes to January 21 so there is no great rush.”

Keane said that former Austrian Under-21 goalkeeper Michael Langer did well on trial last week and he intends Ato have another look at the SC Freiburg (Germany) player.

“With Brian Murphy become eligible next week it takes the pressure off the keeping situation, but we will have another look at Langer,” said Keane.

Palace will be without full back Danny Butterfield as he continues to recover from a hamstring strain.

Butterfield, 30, suffered the injury in the Eagles' 2-0 defeat at Sheffield United and missed the 1-1 draw with Barnsley last Saturday.

Teenager Nathaniel Clyne deputised at right back and Palace manager Neil Warnock confirmed the youngster will continue in that position against Ipswich.

Warnock said: “I'm not too worried as I think Nathaniel has done very well and I'm sure he will make it very hard for Danny to get his place back in the team.”

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