Keith Curle on the return of team captain Danny GraingerA familiar face returned to the match day squad on Tuesday night as defender Danny Grainger found his name on the team sheet for the first time since the middle of December following a ten week absence due to a knee ligament injury.
United fans were shocked to see the club captain hobbling around in a leg brace in the aftermath of his second half substitution at Kenilworth Road, with just over 20 minutes of the game against Luton left to play, but strict adherence to the guidance given by the medical staff means that he is now close to being back and he's raring to go with twelve important fixtures left to play.
“The ideal scenario would have been not to include him [in the match day 18] on Tuesday night,” manager Keith Curle confirmed.
“However, we’re missing a big character in Michael Raynes, who would have relished the conditions at Whaddon Road, and I felt it was important to get Danny back and involved with the group and in the changing room arena.
“There was a temptation to put him on for the last couple of minutes, but I avoided that in the end with the conditions in mind.
“The best thing is that he’s desperate to be involved. You want to see that from your players because he just wants to be doing his bit. He’s had a couple of days training with the squad and that will have done him the world of good.”
“In terms of having him here at the team hotel, we felt that was particularly important with us being without dominant characters like Michael Raynes and Jason Kennedy at the moment," he commented. "Our physio and strength and conditioning coach are with us so we didn’t want it to be a wasted week, where Danny was up in Carlisle on his own.
"We all know he’d have stuck to his programme but it’s better for all concerned if he’s monitored and with the other players. He has a strong voice and the other lads listen to him. We want that type of character with us if it's at all possible."
United PlayerHD subscribers can see an interview with Keith Curle now. Click HERE to go to the PlayerHD platform. Follow the same link for more information on United PlayerHD, and to subscribe.