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Manny Nearing First Team Return

7 December 2012

Manny Smith made a big step towards a return to first team action this week by playing 45 minutes in a behind-closed-doors friendly with Derby County.

Smith recently returned to full training and played 45 minutes in a 2-0 defeat to the Rams.

The centre-back, who arrived at Meadow Lane in the summer from npower League 1 rivals Walsall, has been ruled out since injuring his knee in the opening day Carling Cup clash with Bradford City.

Severe knee bruising and a ligament damage has left the 24-year-old frustrated but he is feeling excited about joining a promotion push in the second half of the season.

Smith had hoped to return in the FA Cup with Budweiser second round tie with Rotherham United at the New York Stadium earlier this month but is hopeful that a comeback is not too much further away. 

He told Magpie Player: “I just wanted to get out and play, it was a good little game against Derby and I felt good during it. 

“It’s good to be playing football again and it’s a big relief, because I’ve been doing loads of fitness training and loads of rehab with the staff.

“It’s the first time that I’ve ever been injured and to know that it’s going to be so long is just frustrating, especially when you’ve just come to a new club.

“At times I’ve been really down but there’s still a lot of the season left and I just want to be involved for the promotion push now.” 

He continued: “I’ve had game time this week so hopefully I can get into some more intense training sessions next week, then hopefully I’ll be available for selection after that."

Watch the full interview with the defender now on Magpie Player. 

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