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MANAGER: Others are ready to step in

Chris Beech on Tanner, Devine and a fifth yellow for Jon Mellish

16 December 2020

United boss Chris Beech confirmed that both Danny Devine and George Tanner are set to face a period on the sidelines having picked up shoulder and knee injuries respectively in last weekend’s home game against Stevenage.

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Speaking after the Mansfield game on Tuesday night, he said: “George got slammed into the gravel track in the last seconds of the game on Saturday and it isn’t great news.

“I’m really disappointed because their striker doesn’t need to do that, and their manager said that at the end of the game. George will miss a few games because of it, but I don’t want to go into time lengths. It’s hard to take but it’s happened.

“While we stay open and honest with everybody we’ve got to make sure we protect our opportunities going forward, so I don’t want to say too much. A lot of clubs don’t give out any injury information so we’re probably too open at times. I’d rather not say a timeframe right now, but it isn’t great news.”

“With Danny, he hurt his knee on Saturday but he didn’t realise how sore it was until half time, and he then slowed down in the second half,” he continued. “I didn’t bring him off at the time because he didn’t say anything.

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“It was a surprise to me when I found out ahead of Saturday’s interview, but even then I didn’t know the extent. I still don’t know that yet because he hasn’t seen the specialist. That’s on Thursday, so he’s protecting it at the moment until we find out what’s gone on.

“We think he’s opened up his knee a little bit, but hopefully we’ll get good news on that.”

Also missing at the weekend will be Jon Mellish, who picked up his fifth booking, leading to a one-match suspension.

“It’s a shame but that’s the way it is,” the manager said. “We’ll play a very good team without our goalscoring midfield player, so somebody else will have to do it.

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“As we’ve seen recently, players miss out for a number of reasons but, with the way our squad is, others are ready to step in.

“I think it’s great and I think we should all try and support what is going on. It comes from a place of hard work and honesty and we shouldn’t try and trip it up.

“Jack Armer is another who has done that for us so well. He’s a level-headed lad who was highly thought of at Preston. He’s had to be very patient and train hard and make sure he’s doing the right things.

“He had that bad injury in pre-season with the dead leg, but he’s kept his head down and worked hard. When there are gaps in the team we’ve got to make sure we step up, and I’m really proud of Jack tonight.

“I don’t know if he’s played at right back before, but I do know that he can defend and I thought that they would play Bowery, who is 6ft 2, so we had to make sure we could cope with Mansfield’s strengths and patch up from George’s area where he’s not available to play in.

“I did say to Jack that he would bring us different outcomes from the way he plays, and that’s what he did. There were other options, and if Rod was fit we could play him and push everybody right, with Aaron at right back.

“That back four of Nick, Rod, Rhys and Aaron is very tall and strong, or you could play Max and move Aaron that way. We could play Joe Riley at right back, with Dean Furman in midfield, but I felt this was our best option to keep what we’re doing going, which is playing at high energy with great quality. I’m glad I did that.”

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