With injuries one of the longer topics to be covered at the manager’s weekly press conferences, Chris Beech confirmed today that it’s just one of those things that most teams are having to deal with as the season begins to motor on with games coming thick and fast.
“We’ve had some injuries, but a lot of teams are in a similar position,” he said. “Unfortunately for us all ours have come pretty much at the same time and in the same segment of the team.
“If they could have been split a little bit more it might be a bit easier to have more continuity in team selections. But I think the lads have adapted well and it does provide opportunity for other players.
“Other clubs are going through the same. I noticed David Amoo came off for Port Vale seven minutes in, he’s had his hamstring issues, along with other players.
“I just think it’s down to the fact we’ve all had to go through this real long time of not playing, a strange pre-season to try and make it as normal as possible, and straight into competitive football. It is what it is.
“Unfortunately for us it’s been more the attacking area rather than spread out amongst the whole squad, but it is what it is.”
As clubs deal with the implications of losing players to knocks and niggles, he admitted that it can become a bit of a balancing act in terms of team selection.
“In any league, the bookies hardly ever get it wrong and they always go with who’s got the biggest investment,” he commented. “Over time, that allows for these discrepancies, because you’ve got a bigger squad or the ability to replace or sometimes pay for the answer.
“That’s why the favourites are similar every year. It doesn’t mean you can’t upset the applecart as such, but generally that’s the way it is. We’ve got a competitive squad with opportunity for growth and progression in younger players within it.
“It was great to see that the other day. Players who haven’t been playing that regular - bar the odd couple of goals which were, I can’t defend them in words, they weren’t right - the lads were excellent.
“When it comes to getting the lads into the rhythm we keep talking about, you to lose the building and intricate detail that goes into getting rapport between people, it becomes stop-start.
“It provides opportunity for other players, and we have a process of how we play, so all of the players know that. Without going into that intricate detail, you still have a way of going about what you’re trying to achieve and how you want to play, so players have to fit into that.
“Everyone knows we want to penetrate the back line, we want to be in the opposition half and we want to get the ball back as quickly as possible. All these traits are the same things, they don’t change, and I want everyone to be working to them. It’s not just for the first team, and the youth team have an understanding of that as well.”
As to whether any of the current injured lads will be available for Saturday, he said: “I think what I’ve personally found difficult is I’ve probably done the extra day, or week in Omari’s case in pre-season, of protecting this kind of thing.
“And maybe I should do it the other way like we used to do in the old days, ‘there’s nothing wrong with you, get on the pitch’. I’ve not done that. I find that to be a bit frustrating. But who knows, at the moment it’s probably more no than yes.
“In the physio’s room we’ve stuck up the player’s names and we’ve got an optimistic date, a realistic date and I won’t tell you what the last section’s called … but we’ve put the games in perspective on those boards and we’re asking - can we beat specialists, and rehab, can we do everything we can.
“I know the players are. It’s not like we’ve got a lazy changing room that’s taking liberties. They’re all keen as mustard to get on the pitch. Omari’s original timeframe, he’s within, that but we don’t know how these things go until you get up to 90 to 95% of sprinting pace.
“With Dean Furman, he was struggling from the Scunthorpe game, he’s nearer fitness. Gime Toure has made a big impact in the actual games, and another one that missed part of pre-season when we signed him, we’ll have to wait and see.
“He’s got a dead leg and he missed two weeks when it was hard to determine whether it had a slight strain in it or not. He played the other day and he couldn’t complete the game. It’s just the way it is at the moment.”
“Gav Reilly was a really strange one,” he continued. “He came on and got a knock, I was seeing if he was ok, stretching off his hamstring. He’s gone through some processes this week with the physio.
“It’s Thursday today, he’ll see it as a big opportunity for him with JJ Kayode going away on international duty.
“Ethan Walker is another, and I was really frustrated with that. He got away from his opponent and he had his arm basically pulled. It popped out of the socket a little bit. As he loosened up from that he went straight into a strong tackle that was above ankle, and landed heavily.
“He’s had his arm yanked as he tried to get away, gets out of the wriggle and goes straight into a smash. He’s going through the processes. He’s with us, he’s in this morning, he had an x-ray which was good, but he’s had this problem in the past as a young schoolboy.
“As long as he recovers well he might be able to be available, but we won’t know that until we can get him on the training ground to see.”
“Like I say, it is frustrating but we have to get on with it,” he added. “It is what it is. The players are working hard in every game and to get to that level you have to train at certain levels.
“If you don’t, you might not give yourself opportunity to win games. It’s a difficult balance. We’ve done no double days or sand dune runs. We’ve just stuck to getting right, getting fit, playing football, training with intensity, but not for too long. These things have happened.
“I know teams who’ve done it the opposite and they’ve had issues too. We have looked into it, we have had a meeting with David Holdsworth about it, we’ve looked at investing into some sort of equipment that can test the strength of hamstrings, because the game gets faster, it doesn’t get slower.”
And, as he spoke about last week, he confirmed that any recruitment prior to the 5pm transfer deadline on Friday 16 October could be based on the injury situation.
“Our perfect scenario is to have a front three playing and a front three change,” he explained. “We’ve got that providing everybody’s fit. It would help if we knew there was 10,000 people in the stadium on Saturday, like there possibly could have been against Barrow, because tickets sold, pies bought, programmes sold, probably more shirts sold, it’s a business isn’t it.
“It’s hard, the recruitment of Connor Malley was good, all our recruitment is financially really sound, which has enabled us to have numbers. Thankfully we have. We’ve got a team to put out every week.
“In the current circumstance you would like another one but at some point you can’t keep saying that. I’ve got one loan left, and I’ve spoken at length with David to make sure we know where we are.
“It’s more through injury than anything, and what’s frustrating is we’re loaded with players at the front end who aren’t currently available. To get another one, you know how these things work, as soon as you do that you’ll probably end up with some defensive type situation.
“I’ve got to take it right to the wire and see what happens.”