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Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 12:52 UK

Zaki fit to make return for Wigan

Amr Zaki
Zaki has not scored in open play for Wigan since 18 October

Wigan striker Amr Zaki could face Blackburn on Sunday after returning to training following a hamstring strain.

Zaki, who was fined by the Latics last week after returning 10 days late from international duty with Egypt, picked up the injury playing for his country.

Latics boss Steve Bruce told the Wigan Evening Post: "If I need to pick Zaki, and have him involved, I will do so.

"He is back training and, I've got to say, training very well. His hamstring is OK and his fitness is good."

Zaki, who is on loan from Egyptian club El Zamalek until the end of the season, scored seven goals in his first eight Premier League games for Wigan.

The 26-year-old has not found the net in open play since 18 October or scored at all for his club in 2009 but Bruce is confident he can rediscover his early-season form.

606: DEBATE

"I have always said we might see the return of Zaki to his best when the sun shines and the daffodils come out," Bruce explained.

"He found it difficult to settle during the winter for one reason or another."

Zaki apologised after reporting back to the JJB Stadium on 17 April.

Bruce claimed it was the fifth time Zaki had returned late and said he was the most "unprofessional" player he had ever worked with.

Wigan chief executive Brenda Spencer told their website: "Zaki said the reason for his behaviour was personal."

Steve Bruce understood my reasons for staying in Egypt but told me I should have returned immediately to England

Wigan striker Amr Zaki

The fine imposed on the striker was the maximum amount allowed by the Professional Footballers Association guidelines.

"The whole affair has been very disappointing and the club are keen to draw a line under it," added Spencer.

"Steve has told him that the door is not closed for him but he has a lot to do to earn a place back in the team. That is before we discuss anything more long term."

Zaki is reported to have told Egyptian television that both he and Bruce were "laughing" after the apology was made.

"I clarified many things to Bruce," said the striker.

"He understood my reasons for staying in Egypt but told me I should have returned immediately to England after the Zambia match.

"He wanted my hamstring injury to be assessed by Wigan medics. I apologised to him and we ended up laughing."

The player's agent, Nader Shawky, has said Zaki is keen to continue playing in England next season and that "several" clubs had made inquiries about him.

And Zamalek's marketing director, Khaled Refaat, told BBC Sport Manchester City made an inquiry about the striker in January and that "two or three" other clubs had expressed an interest in him.



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see also
Wigan 1-4 Arsenal
11 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Everton 4-0 Wigan
05 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Sunday's football photos
05 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Angry Bruce lambasts absent Zaki
02 Apr 09 |  Wigan
Egypt and Nigeria in shock draws
29 Mar 09 |  African
Zaki's Premier League ambition
23 Oct 08 |  Wigan
English clubs target Wigan's Zaki
23 Oct 08 |  Wigan
Bruce hails Wigan's awesome Zaki
29 Sep 08 |  African
Wigan complete Zaki loan switch
22 Jul 08 |  Wigan


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