Key players return to training ahead of visit of in-form Cambridge United.Several players have overcome recent injuries ahead of our match with in form Cambridge United on Saturday.
Although it is unclear as yet who is in contention for a place either in the starting xi or amongst the substitutes, midfielders Fergus Bell, Simon Heslop, both of whom sustained knocks in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Portsmouth, are back in training.
Loanee shot-stopper Dimitar Evtimov has also regained full fitness, following treatment for his groin injury at parent club Nottingham Forest.
Assistant manager Adam Murray revealed the positive news at his press meeting earlier today.
“A few of them were kind of on a tightrope at the start of the week, which we had to monitor and see how they were doing,” said the 33-year-old.
“Fergus [Bell] has come through. He’s seen the doctor and he’s okay – he’s got the all clear. ‘Hessy’ [Simon Heslop] will train today and we’ll see how he goes.”
He continued: “It’s like there’s been some kind of voodoo on the place, but it’s one of those things. We’ve dealt with it so far and we’ll keep plugging on.”
In more positives news, centre-back Ryan Tafazolli will ‘up his training’ this week as he bids to overcome his recent injury, whilst fellow defender Luke Jones is back in training.
Meanwhile, Micky Moore, our first team coach, revealed earlier this week that burly forward Matt Rhead could be a doubt for Saturday’s match, having suffered a hamstring strain at Fratton Park.
The player is making good progress, but, as yet, no timescale has been put on when he will be able to return.
“He’s doing well,” added Murray. “He’s a little bit further than we expected, so we’re hoping that’s positive. We’ll see how training goes today and tomorrow, but as far as things look at the minute, he’s okay.”
One player who definitely won’t figure on Saturday is playmaker Chris Clements, who has had a slight setback with his hamstring injury which has sidelined him over the past few days.
“He’s had a setback,” said our assistant boss. “He felt it on Monday, so he’s sat out this week and is going to need a little bit of time. I don’t think it’s as bad as when he first [injured his hamstring], but he’s not 100% yet and not worth the risk.”
Elsewhere, defender John Dempster will have an operation on his groin injury next week.
Murray added: “[His surgery] isn’t until next week and then obviously there is the recovery process after that, but I know John is working as hard at the minute to keep himself as fit as he can, before his rehabilitation.”
Looking beyond Saturday’s game with Cambridge, we face back-to-back away trips to managerless Tranmere Rovers and then York City, who appointed Ross Wilcox as their new manager yesterday.
“We’ve got three tough games coming up,” added our skipper.
“We’re focussing on Cambridge first and we know what they’re about. They’ve got a good manager. I’ve worked under Richard [Money] and he’s a top coach.
“They’re big, strong, physical, organised and structured, and it’s going to be a tough test. They had a great result on Saturday, and will obviously be full of confidence.”
Adam Murray’s full interview from this morning’s press meeting is available on Stags Player. To subscribe, click here.