With x-rays over the weekend confirming that Boro loanee Joe Fryer had suffered breaks to both his tibia and fibula following a second half challenge with Crewe’s Paul Green, manager John Sheridan spoke at his Wednesday afternoon press conference about the bad news for a keeper who had started all six games for the club so far this season.
“It’s a big shame for him because he was doing really well for us,” he said. “We’re all gutted for him. His leg is broken in two places, his fib and tib, so he’s had the operation and it’s now about him being positive.
“He knows his recovery is going to take a while, but I’ve spoken to him and one thing I have been able to say to him is that I had this injury myself, when I was 19, and I went on to play for a long, long time after that.
“I think he’s a positive kid anyway and you could see that when he was waving to the crowd when he came off the pitch on the stretcher. That was unbelievable but it’s the type of lad he is.”
“It’s about him getting himself recovered now,” he continued. “He’s young and fit and we’ll do all we can to help him. Some people are quick healers, and I know it’s a bad injury, but it’s a lot better than having a serious ligament injury. He’s got a young body so hopefully he will come back fit and well.
“I know Dolly will be keeping tabs on him but, with no disrespect, they have fantastic facilities he’ll be able to use to help his recovery over there. The staff at Middlesbrough are excellent so we wish him well going forward.”
With the injury happening just as the 22-year-old was starting to really settle at the club, he said: “He was getting game time here with us and obviously the team was winning. He was settling down nicely because he was playing games.
“That’s what you need to be doing when you’re a young player. You could see he was starting to believe in himself because he was having that game time.
“The good thing for us is that we’ve got a good number two in Adam Collin. We knew that was the case anyway because they’ve been competing with each other all the way. It’s now up to me to try to bring someone in who is going to compete with Adam, to keep him on his toes.
“I don’t want someone who sits in a comfort zone where they know they’re going to be playing. That isn’t what I want in any area of the pitch. That’s why we need another keeper in and I’m trying to do that at this moment in time.
“We’re looking at four or five possibilities and it’s a case of getting the best deal we can get. It’s someone we can’t guarantee a starting place, because Adam is there with that at this moment in time, but I want him to be pushing all the way and looking for the shirt.
“We could get a young kid and tell him to sit there for training purposes, but I think it’s important that we do get someone who can test and compete with Adam. We need that level of competition.”
As to what that means for Joe Fryer in terms of his loan, which was due to see him stay with the Blues until the end of the current campaign, he said: “He’s still a loan player as it stands, and that’s the politics side of things I don’t get involved in. I let other people sort that out.
“What’s happened is no fault of ours or Middlesbrough’s, and they did brilliantly in letting us have him in the first place. We’ll just respect whatever decision is made over that one. Other people will look at all of that while I concentrate on my team.”
“We’re short on bodies, we know that, so we do need to try to get this keeper in,” he added. “What I have to do is look at my situation and see if I feel I need outfield players as well.
“I’ve got four loans who can play at the moment, so another one would make the five you’re allowed on the team sheet, and I don’t want to bring loans in for them not to be involved. If I can find somebody who is a free agent, and they were the right player, I’d do something, whether that was a keeper or an outfield player.
“I just need to look at the best way to go about things because I do still feel we’re short of numbers. I’ve just got to go about it the best way I can to try to make us that little bit stronger and more secure if we do pick up one or two injuries.
“I’ve just picked my squad for the weekend and, being honest, I’d like another four to add to the list. Everyone knows where we are, but that’s just how it is for us.
“One thing we don’t want is to pick up too many injuries, because that does make us very vulnerable, but you can’t predict what’s going to happen. It’s part and parcel of football and we just get on with it.”
One other injury concern from the weekend’s home game was captain Danny Grainger, who was substituted during the first half as he pulled up following a challenge inside his own penalty area.
“Danny’s is an injury we didn’t want, but it’s not as bad as we first thought.” The manager revealed. “He’s probably looking at a two-week period, which isn’t as long as we thought it would be.
“He said he heard a pop when it happened but, luckily for him and me, it isn’t as severe. He’s had a scan and the good news is that instead of six weeks it could possibly be two weeks.”
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