After missing the opening two months of the MLS season, Frank Lampard’s 2016 debut could at long last be in sight.
The 37-year-old midfielder trained with the rest of New York City FC’s squad on Wednesday for the first time since injuring his calf during preseason – albeit for just 30 minutes before working on his own for the remainder of the session – and head coach Patrick Vieira offered a positive update on his status afterwards.
The Frenchman gave no timetable for the former Chelsea star’s potential return, but providing he suffers no further setbacks, there is a strong chance he could be back in action before the end of the month.
Speaking to MLSsoccer.com about Lampard, Vieira said: “Frank had the first part of the training with the team today. Regarding how the calf will react tomorrow [will decide if] he’ll do the full session. He’s getting close.”
Lampard also dealt with the same nagging calf problem over the second half of last season following his summer arrival, making just 10 appearances and scoring three goals as NYCFC finished their inaugural campaign in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
With Vieira since replacing Jason Kreis as coach, the club had been enduring a slow start to this term, but back-to-back wins over the Vancouver Whitecaps and D.C. United during the last two weeks now have them sitting fourth in the East with 13 points from 10 matches – just two points behind conference leaders Montreal Impact.
They now face a trip to the Portland Timbers on Sunday before another away game at Toronto FC three days later, but it remains to be seen whether Lampard will be back in time for the second fixture.
“We’re taking everybody on the trip because we don’t know what is going to happen with the flying, the games, we don’t know how players are going to react,” Vieira added to MLSsoccer.com. “We’re taking everybody on the trip because from Portland we’re going straight to Toronto. It will be an important trip for us.”