Birmingham veteran close to return

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Birmingham midfielder Lee Carsley is poised to return to training next week after being side-lined for two months with an ankle injury.

The 34-year-old has been out of action since suffering the setback in an FA Cup third-round clash with Nottingham Forest in mid-January.

Carsley played an important part last season in helping Blues regain their Barclays Premier League status at the first attempt.

But he had been dislodged by the Barry Ferguson-Lee Bowyer partnership during the current campaign before his ankle setback and his chances of featuring have further diminished with the January signing of Michel from Sporting Gijon.

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish told Press Association Sport: "Lee is back to a good level and maybe next Monday he might rejoin the group in terms of training and kicking the ball again.

"He's been kicking it lightly, doing some running, getting some stamina back. Now it's about getting the sharpness back for him."

But McLeish admitted that striker Garry O'Connor is unlikely to return before the latter part of the campaign from the groin problem which has kept the Scotland international out of action since before November.

He said: "O'Connor is a wee bit further away than Lee. He is still doing his rehab.

"He's looking like the incredible hulk, with the stuff he's done in the gym. He's certainly got a lot of work to do in terms of his running.

"He may be back before the end of the season, but it's going to be late in the day, the middle of April perhaps."

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Lee Carsley
Premier League
Lee Carsley

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