Bellamy nearing return

Last updated : 22 January 2004 By Martyn Elliott

The Welshman has been out of action since the start of October and for most of that period has been sorely missed, but all being well he’ll be back in first-team contention for the trip to Birmingham City.

"Craig Bellamy trained today against the first-team and sparkled,” Sir Bobby told a press conference on Thursday.

"I really think he could give us 20 minutes on Saturday at Anfield if I really wanted him to.

"To be honest, if I was pushed for players, I'd be tempted to do that. Now, I'm not going to do that, but there's a reserve match on Monday and I think Craig Bellamy might be playing in that one.

"He's going very well - he looked really good, a week ahead of his time, I would have said, so he's not far away at all.

"We're delighted to see him back on the training ground competitively with everybody else.

''We've looked after him and he's been isolated, he's been rehabilitated very professionally and carefully, but he's ready to leave the nest and get involved now.

"He's done very well, he looked sparkling today. His pace was incredible, his movement, his turns on the ball, his desire to play was outstanding - and the pitch was noisy again."