Midfielder Jason Kennedy received the news he’s been waiting over a year for on Tuesday afternoon when he was given the thumbs up to step up his training sessions with a view to a return to full action bang on schedule as we head into the New Year.
Speaking about the news at his weekly press conference, manager John Sheridan said: “We’re all really pleased for him because he’s had to work hard and stay patient, and it’s been a tough year for the lad.
“It’s great news for him but it’s the same for us, because he’ll be an excellent addition to the squad. Look, he’s been told he can step up, and that’s fantastic, of course it is, but we know we need to be careful with him.
“We have to remember that he was out for a long time, so we need to look after him and he needs to look after himself. The good thing is that nobody will need to tell Jason anything. He’s an experienced professional and even though he’s joining in with full training now, he’ll still know if there’s something he can’t do or if it doesn’t quite feel right.
“He’s still playing a bit of catch up, but this is another big step for him. We had him on the bench at Lincoln and he think he had a bit of a panic when I first told him that was happening!
“He was a bit worried that I might ask him to go on, but that was never in my thoughts at all.
“I just wanted to get him involved in the whole match day thing again. We had a spare place on the bench and it meant he didn’t have to train on his own on the Friday before the game. That’s the only reason I did it.”
“I know he’s chomping at the bit to get involved again but we’re not going to rush it,” he insisted. “It’s been a very long time for him but it will be a big plus when he does come back.”
More good news came for the manager when injured trio Jamie Devitt, Danny Grainger and Tom Parkes returned to training following their spells out on the sidelines.
“All three of them have trained so they’ll be in the squad for the weekend,” he confirmed. “That gives me plenty to think about, but I don’t mind that.
“We want our players fit and available because, when they are, it gives us options and we look a good outfit.”
With a lot of the talk this week being about the pending return of in-form forward Ashley Nadesan to parent club Fleetwood at the beginning of January, the gaffer reiterated: “I always thought this would be the case with Ashley. I know they’re trying to sell him, and that’s fine, he’s their player.
“I know he’s happy and he wants to stay here, but we have to respect that Fleetwood is his club. It’s in our thinking now that he’s probably moving on, so that means we need to replace him.
“We’re looking at options for that so we’re ready for whenever it is that it has to be done. If they are selling him, I have to be honest and say I don’t think we’ll be in a position to outbid anybody, because I know there are clubs interested in him.
“That’s why we’re looking at somebody similar to bring in, on a similar loan deal, so that we can pick up and move on.”
“I knew when I came in that my job was to do the best I can within the loan market,” he added. “We’re not going to be a buying club, and I’m fine with that.
“I’ve spoken to the loan players who are here already and they’re all happy. They all want to stay. Every loan player wants to be playing whenever they go out to a club and, other than Adam Campbell, that’s been the case for our lads.
“Like I say, they are all happy here, so we have to talk about what’s best for all parties – clubs included – with all of them. Once that’s done we’ll take it from there.”
“Naders going back frees up another loan space, so it’s areas like that where I’ll be looking to strengthen,” he said. “Jason Kennedy coming back will be like a new signing for us and, at the risk of repeating myself, if we keep everybody fit we’re in a good place.”