McFadden closer to return

The Birmingham forward suffered knee ligament damage in late August

and was expected to be side-lined until the 2011-2012 campaign. But

he has made encouraging progress with his rehabilitation and has

participated in a practice match. Blues manager Alex McLeish is

pessimistic about McFadden’s chances of playing at senior club

level this season but representing his country in the Carling

Nations Cup tournament is a possibility. McLeish said: “James has

joined the young players in training and played in a small sided

game with them on Monday. “Now it just depends on the reactions to

his knee. “I would think hopefully we can get over the line and he

can make some kind of appearance before the end of the season. “We

just have to see if there is any reaction to what he has been

doing, when he has been involved and back with the group again.”

When asked if he would be happy for McFadden to play for Scotland,

McLeish said: “If there is no reaction. “I would suspect the doctor

would be cautious about it and we would look to try and have an

agreement with Scotland. “But again we don’t know if he is near at

all (to playing) as of yet.”