There has been a double boost from the Blues medical room ahead of the Vodacom Challenge with news that Shaun Wright-Phillips and Craig Bellamy are ready for action.
England international Wright-Phillips was initially earmarked for a summer clean out of an injured knee but he has had no ill-effects from his end of season action with club or country.
And Wales star Bellamy, who made such a big impact on the goals charts following his January move from West Ham, was first through the training ground doors on the first day back after a summer of hard rehab on the injured knee that saw him miss the final eight games of last season.
“Shaun had some inflammation towards the end of the season and the feeling was that we needed to test it to see if it would stand up. He came through that and was keen to link up with England. We felt that would be another indication of where we would be with the injury and thankfully he has been fine,” reported the manager.
“Craig has been training all summer which doesn’t surprise me. He has done a lot of work on an individual basis and is raring to go. He will be ready for the beginning of the season.”
Two other potential first teamers who are keen to impress during the pre-season as competition hots up for places have also reported for work earlier than the deadline.
“Martin Petrov and Valeri Bojinov have been playing this summer too for Bulgaria and that is to our benefit,” said the boss. “Having missed much of last season, they have both come back a week earlier than the other internationals.”