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Francis shot puts Purse in plaster.

Byline: Hyder Jawad

Birmingham City defender Darren Purse could be out of action for two months after breaking his wrist in a freak training-ground accident yesterday involving manager Trevor Francis.

X-rays have revealed that Purse fractured the wrist in two places and will be in plaster for up to five weeks - after trying to prevent a shot by Francis from entering the goal.

A stunned Francis said last night: 'This is a terrible blow for Darren and for Birmingham City. I took a shot with some considerable force and Darren, trying to prevent the ball from going into the net, put his arms up.

'He will be in plaster for five weeks but we don't know yet how long he will be out of action for. It is terrible news for us all and everybody is in a state of shock.'

It could hardly have come at a worse time for Purse who has impressed his manager with his performances and attitude. 'Darren has been outstanding,' Francis said. 'And that only makes it worse.'

As Francis prepares for the Nationwide League Division One match against Sheffield Wednesday at St Andrew's on Saturday, his problems seem to be getting worse. 'Another senior defender, Dave Holdsworth, will be out with a calf injury,' Francis said. 'After all the bad luck recently, I am getting used to it.'

Francis may decide to give Jonathan Hutchinson his first-team debut against Wednesday. Hutchinson, aged 19, has been on the substitutes' bench for the past four matches.

Francis also revealed that Nico Vaesen, the Birmingham goalkeeper, is not ready for a return to action. There was hope that the Belgian, who is recovering from an infected arm, may play for the reserve team at Wrexham tonight but Francis ruled that out.

Though pleased with Vaesen's progress, Francis said: 'He is not quite ready. He needs more time.'

The news regarding Marcelo, however, is more encouraging. The striker, who has been out of action with an ankle injury, may play for the reserves against Wrexham and, if the run-out proves to be successful, could be a surprise inclusion in the squad for the first-team game against Wednesday.

Danny Sonner, the midfield player, and Martin Grainger, the left back, will also join the reserve-team squad tonight, although both are suspended for the game on Saturday.

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Darren Purse faces a long lay-off after breaking his wrist
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Title Annotation:Football
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 5, 2001
Words:399
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