Fulham have sent Lee Clark to Italy in a bid to find a cure for his persistent calf injury.

The former Newcastle man has been out for almost a year after repeatedly breaking down in training and he said at the weekend that retirement is something which has crossed his mind.

Clark is renowned for his battling qualities and the trip to Italy is a further example of the midfielder’s determination to make a return to first-team action.

Cottagers boss Chris Coleman is hopeful the trip will bear fruit as he admits they have missed the qualities Clark brings to the team.

“He’s seeing a guy who I’m told is the best in the business and we had encouraging signs yesterday,” said Coleman.

“He had a session where they were just trying to break up a little bit of scar tissue where his Achilles joins his calf.

“We had good news yesterday and I am just keeping my fingers crossed for Lee because we have missed him.

“It’s been frustrating for him and us. Just when he gets to a certain level in his rehab he breaks down, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for him this time.”