Nelson injury scare

Bryan Gunn will be anxiously awaiting a medical report on centre half Michael Nelson today after the central defender left Selhurst Park on a stretcher last night.

Bryan Gunn will be anxiously awaiting a medical report on centre half Michael Nelson today after the central defender left Selhurst Park on a stretcher last night.

Nelson appeared to be unconscious when he hit the ground after a routine aerial challenge with Jose Fonte 15 minutes from the end of the 1-0 friendly win at Crystal Palace.

Medical staff were quickly on the pitch, but Nelson lay motionless for five minutes before he was taken away on a stretcher, his neck in a brace and showing few signs of movement.

Nelson is likely to miss this weekend's final pre-season friendly, at home to Wigan, as a precaution, with Gunn keen to keep one of his summer signings wrapped in cotton wool.

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Gunn does have choices in the middle of his defence, with skipper Gary Doherty, Michael Spillane - who moved there last night after Nelson departed - and youngsters Dario Dumic and David Stephens, while he is still awaiting an answer from triallist Jens Berthel Askou, who has been offered a deal, but is back in to his native Denmark.

However, with the memory of last season's myriad changes in defence fresh in the memory, Gunn will be keeping his fingers crossed that Nelson is back in training as quickly as possible.

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'It was two centre-halves going for the ball,' said Gunn. 'We've seen it on the video and there was no intent there, it was just a physical challenge between two committed players and unfortunately Michael came off worse on this occasion.

'I think he was unconscious for 10 or 15 seconds and quite rightly the medical team worked very quickly, got him on to a stretcher and he is currently in a local hospital getting assessed, so we hope that he should be okay. Obviously we need to make sure everything's right before we take him back to Norfolk.

'Michael's a hardened competitor in League One and I'm sure he's had a number of concussions throughout his career. But we need to make sure he's 100pc right, certainly before we take the field against Colchester. but we also have the young lads like Dario Dumic and David Stephens who can slot into the position should we need them at the weekend.

'Michael Spillane again showed his versatility when he stepped back in there - I thought he put on a excellent performance of that last 20 minutes or so.'

The injury to Nelson put something of a dampener on a good night for City, who have now won five and drawn one of their pre-season matches - and thoroughly deserved to beat Palace.

It was summer signing Simon Whaley - still building up his match fitness - who got the winner, with Gunn happy to see his side square up to their opponents in a physical encounter.

'It was a good physical encounter and something that we expect to come up against next season on many occasions in League One,' Gunn said.

'But we stood up to it and we got the victory away from home, again it is one of those you take the positives form. There was a lot of good effort, a lot of physical demands on the players tonight, but I think once we got the ball down and passed it we showed our qualities and the more often we do that the more often we will win games next season.

'We will have to endure a physical encounter for a number of minutes in a game, but once we get through that we have got to be brave enough to pass it and I think we showed that tonight.

'Obviously it was Simon's first full start for the club and I think he showed in flashes that he will be an important player for us during the season. He has pace to burn and when he gets into those positions inside the penalty box it is good to see there is one thing on his mind.'

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