Cox back in contention for Forest


Soccer:Nottingham Forest manager Sean O’Driscoll hasn’t ruled Simon Cox out of contention for the weekend after the striker injured his foot in the Republic of Ireland’s friendly win over Oman.

Cox hobbled off in the dying stages of the 4-1 victory at Craven Cottage and O’Driscoll feared the worst, but he revealed today the striker is eager to play against Birmingham City on Saturday after x-rays showed no major damage.

“I must admit the alarm bells rang a little when I heard he had been stretchered off but touch wood he’s bright and there’s no obvious fracture, so we’ll see what he’s like tomorrow,” said O’Driscoll today. “He’s desperate to play on Saturday and we were surprised when he came walking through the door this morning. I expected him to be on crutches but he walked in fine.”

Cox’s former clubmate and international teammate Shane Long has been earning plaudits from West Brom manager Steve Clarke for his “level headed” approach to the marathon that is the Premier League season. Albion have collected seven points from their opening three matches but striker Long has warned of Wolves having the same tally at the same stage last season and ending up being relegated.

“Shane came up with that stat and it shows the players I’ve got are level headed, intelligent and grounded,” said Clarke. “They understand how difficult the Premier League is and to get points, you have to play well and work hard every game. There is no-one inside this building getting carried away. We are delighted with the start we’ve made but that’s it.”

Clarke added: “There’s maybe a top six who have their own competition, then beyond that there’s a separate league and we are all trying our best to finish top of that. That’s the challenge for a club like Albion.”

Clarke is hoping former Ireland international Steven Reid will have recovered from the hamstring injury suffered during the 2-0 win over Everton before the international break in time for Saturday’s league clash at Fulham.

“I’m hopeful more than confident in terms of Steven being available,” he said. “He is a good professional, he knows his body well and, when I ask him the question, he will give me an honest answer. But I won’t ask that question until later tomorrow.”

West Brom winger Jerome Thomas will be sidelined for a further two weeks after undergoing knee surgery.

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