Premier League - Ruddy nearing return for Norwich after U21 appearance

England goalkeeper John Ruddy is likely to step up his rehabilitation from a thigh injury after completing 90 minutes of Norwich's Under-21s match at Newcastle.

PA Sport
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Norwich City's goalkeeper John Ruddy

The 26-year-old has not featured for the Canaries since the draw at Everton on November 24 after needing surgery on a torn muscle.

Ruddy played all of the 2-0 Barclays U21 Development League defeat at Newcastle on Monday night, and will now be expected to come into contention for a first-team return over the run-in as Chris Hughton's men target top-flight survival.

Writing on his official Twitter account, Ruddy said: "Good to get the 90 minutes, leg held up ok."

While Ruddy is not expected to be rushed back, the imminent return of the England international will be welcome news for Hughton.

Understudy Mark Bunn limped off early in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Swansea after he picked up a groin problem on his first match back after suspension, meaning third-choice Lee Camp could again be between the posts for Saturday's trip to Arsenal.

Norwich are 14th, but just four points above Wigan, who have a match in hand.

Despite this weekend's trip to Emirates Stadium expected to offer little other than a sound beating, Hughton's men still have enough time to put a safe distance between themselves and the battle for survival - with key games against Reading, Stoke and Aston Villa next on their fixture list.

Winger Elliott Bennett is confident the results will come. "We have just got to keep plugging away and picking up points where we can," Bennett said, quoted in the Eastern Daily Press.

"If we draw six of the next six then that would put us on 41 points - that would probably be enough. It is all about Premier League survival, not about how many wins you get in a season."

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