Fowler on his way back

Last updated : 15 October 2004 By Ben Collins

Kevin Keegan took the 29-year-old striker out of the firing line after he was clearly short of match fitness at the start of the season.

Robbie Fowler: On way back (AlexLivesey/GettyImages)
Fowler has since undergone a rigorous personal training programme with fitness coach Juan Carlos Osario - involving three sessions a day - and the £6million signing is close to competing for a starting role once more.

Fowler's next appearance, which even be as a sub against Chelsea on Saturday, will also trigger a £500,000 pay-out to former club Leeds - who receive instalments every 15 games - as Fowler reaches 60 outings for City.

'There have been no problems with Robbie and, unless forced too, his programme finishes and the Carling Cup will be the perfect game to bring him back,' Keegan told the City website.

'I want Robbie to finish his programme,' added the City boss. 'Nobody has worked harder than Robbie in the past few weeks. He will get the benefits of that and then we will too.

'It was designed to draw a line under where he was at the time and give him a fresh start and that is what we have done.

'Robbie had not played regularly for two years due to injury and then he tried to catch up by playing football. That is the way I thought was the best but probably with hindsight it was not.

'This clears his head as well and is like a clean sheet of paper for him. I have no doubt, as I have said before, that when he comes back you will see a different Robbie Fowler. I can see it already.'