United boss Chris Beech opened his regular Thursday morning press conference with an injury update as the squad continues to prepare for the visit of Southend United on Saturday.
“Things are a lot better,” he said. “It was good to see our forward players on the pitch last week and they’ll be better for it.
“They’ve got to get in rhythm themselves because they’ve missed a lot of football, and didn’t quite complete some of the pre-season games, especially Omari, so he’s in a much better place for having played last week.
“I think JJ [Kayode] learned a few lessons from being a bit schooled from older centre-halves. I had a good chat with him about it, he understands what he can do to try and affect that the next time it happens.
“I thought Omari looked threatening at times, a good touch, turn and shot on the move, slightly deflected into the side netting. But it was good to see them playing.”
On winger Brennan Dickinson, he commented: “It was hard to tell you where we were at last week because he had to wait a week to decide how bad it was, dependent on how he responded.
“It’s not good, but it’s not needing an operation. He will be back, hopefully before it starts snowing and before the end of the year. They’ve regraded the tears, put them up to a grade four, he’s slightly underneath that and it didn’t require surgery, which is great news.
“I’m expecting him to be in and around sort of December time. But we’ve got to be mindful that he didn’t do pre-season and had a bigger gap from playing last season, although he did play later than us with being involved in the play-offs.
“With Josh Dixon, it’s been frustrating for him. He’s passed his strength ratio test from thigh to hamstring, it’s less than 10 per cent now, so he’s allowed to make contact with players.
“The problem we’ve had in the last week, and it’s maybe due to a little bit of anxiety, who knows, he’s got a slight thigh strain. He’s got the clearance to make contact but can’t train today – but he’s very close.”
And with defender Aaron Hayden having left the pitch at Cambridge, he explained: “He’s alright, he’s been to see a doctor. He’s not 100 per cent what it is, or can’t put his finger on it.
“Without going into too many personal details, he struggles a little bit with his digestive system on match days. Whether it’s something he’s eating or something’s underlying, you don’t really know until he gets checked out.
“But he’s confident of being available and playing. It’s one of them little things. I remember last year when we beat Cambridge, he went down in that game, I don’t know if it’s just that ground and a bit of kryptonite, I’m not sure. But he’s getting checked out.”
And on midfielder Dean Furman, who has made a return to training, he told us: “He’s fit enough to be involved. That depends on what happens over the next 48 hours, but he’s available.
“That’s good because he’s the type of player who can bring a bit of balance. He’s been there, seen it, done it. That’s part of why we looked to recruit him. He’s come in on a positive wave.
“You’re not asking somebody to try and do it, who may have been here quite a while, had his wages reduced and gets asked to run twice as hard. It’s different. I was impressed when he came in with how Dean supported other players off the pitch.
“What you’d look at for an older player to do, he just naturally does it, he can’t help himself. Even if it’s to the demise of himself not playing. He’s that sort of character. That’s why we took him on.”
With the transfer window still open, an obvious question was to ask if we’re closer to any new additions, particularly ahead of the first home league game of the campaign.
“It’s great that we care so much that debates do start, and get created – who knows?” he replied. “What I don’t want to do is stockpile and have five players in the stand, getting paid quite a lot of money and not playing.
“I don’t think the club would support that action. It costs money. But we’ve got to have a competitive squad and we don’t know how the next three months will go in terms of injuries, suspensions and illnesses.
“It’s a bit tricky but I would suggest we’ve still got an open door to opportunity for recruitment.”
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