Iwelumo in fitness race
Burnley striker Chris Iwelumo is facing a race against time to be fit for the local derby with Preston.
By Chris Galea
Last Updated: 09/09/10 3:27pm
Burnley striker Chris Iwelumo is facing a race against time to be fit for Saturday's local derby with Preston.
The Scotland international had to withdraw from the national squad last week after suffering a hamstring strain during the Clarets' defeat at Swansea.
The former Wolves forward has told skysports.com that he still has a chance to prove his fitness ahead of the crunch clash at Turf Moor.
"I have managed to get out on the grass over the last few days, which is encouraging, but I'm not sure whether I'll be fit enough to feature on Saturday," said Iwelumo.
"I was assessed whilst with the Scotland squad and came back down here to see how quickly it heals, but it will go down to a late fitness test to determine whether I can play against Preston.
"That might be a long shot, but we will have to wait and see."
The Clarets face their local rivals for the first time since suffering a 2-1 defeat at Deepdale in January 2009 and Iwelumo is desperate to be involved.
He added: "Every game is massive and an important one for this club, but the local derby is always a special one and it will be my first for Burnley, so I am desperate to play in it, but it is down to the manager and coaching staff whether that happens.
"I've not had a chance to soak up the atmosphere and build up ahead of it to be honest, but everyone knows how important these games are to the fans.
"The main thing for me is that the hamstring is feeling a lot better than it did a week or so ago, but it depends how I do in training on Friday with the boys to see whether I can feature on Saturday.
"Whatever the gaffer and physio want me to do I will do, but I'd like to be involved because it is such a big game.
"If I can't make it back for Saturday then Tuesday will be in my sights for a return to action."