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Interviews

MANAGER: He joined in with the non-contact football

Keith Millen on Joe Riley, Corey Whelan and selection headaches

15 December 2021

There was good news for manager Keith Millen this week with a return to light training for Joe Riley, who left the field during the Walsall game at the end of November having fallen heavily on his shoulder.

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“He’s fit, as in he’s been able to do quite a lot of running, it’s just the contact on his shoulder that we have to be careful with,” the gaffer explained. “Today [Wednesday] he did quite a lot of running and joined in with the non-contact football.

“We’ve just got to build that up. The good thing is when he does get the confidence, or the all-clear, he’s fit, it’s not like he has to have another week of training to be available.

“It’s just a case of when he gets the go ahead as far as the contact side of things is concerned. He’ll do what pain allows. With him running and kicking the ball it should mean he won’t be too long.”

“Corey [Whelan] is over his ankle injury,” he added. “He’s trained the last two days, he wasn’t completely ready last Saturday.

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“There are a few little knocks from the game last weekend but everybody is in good spirits. They’ve had two good days of training now, they’ll rest tomorrow, then we’ll come in Friday and I’ll probably be able to pick the team because they should all be fit for selection.

“There’s a couple of selection headaches to think about, a few options for me, which is always good. You want that. It’s not easy, but I want options, people pushing for places, competition for places.

“We’ve got frontmen who’ve done well, Jon [Mellish] and Sam [Fishburn] on Saturday were part of a winning performance, and Brad, Tristan, the other forwards have all played their part as well.

“I have got some options there, which you want in this busy period. They all want to play their part - they hey had a couple of days of rest after the game, because it was a busy week last week, so I didn’t see them on Sunday or Monday.

“They did their work at home, and then yesterday and today we were back at it. Certainly today was a really good session, but players will always take confidence from results.

“I think the manner of the win was pleasing for all of us because it wasn’t the best football game we’ve played, our possession stats were lower than we would like, but as far as being a solid, organised team, that you could say scored from two set pieces, that’s a nice identity to have about us.

“It was the way we won that pleased me and the players.”


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