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MANAGER: We can't take risks with player welfare

Paul Simpson on Morgan Feeney, Josh Dixon, Magnus Norman and Corey Whelan

15 April 2022

United boss Paul Simpson revealed in his post-match interview on Friday afternoon that defender Morgan Feeney had suffered heart palpitations leading to his early second half substitution at Walsall, but that initial tests were favourable with the popular centre back feeling much better as the day wore on.

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MATCH REPORT: Walsall

15 April 2022

“It was worrying for all of us at the time it was happening,” he said. “I wasn’t aware of it at half-time, I didn’t know he was suffering with a few palpitations and that he’d been concerned through the first half about that.

“He spoke to Ross the physio about it and they both felt it was ok for him to carry on. He got a little bit worse as the game was going on and I think it’s really important that we look after players.

“We can’t take any chances on things like that, so as much as you want him out there we made the decision to change him. He’s seen a doctor and had an ECG here, so hopefully he’ll be ok.

“We’ll have a look at how he feels over the next couple of days and take it from there. We will obviously do everything we possibly can to make sure he’s ok.

“When these players come through Cat 1 academies they all have heart screening, so he’s had that done and we’ve got the records of that. We’ll see how he feels about it and look at what we do next from that, but hopefully it isn’t anything too serious.”

With us all having seen some high-profile medical situations develop and unfold on our TV screens in recent months, he said: “I think we’re all more aware now because in years gone by player welfare wasn’t even considered. You just had to get on with it.

“We’ve got a bit of common sense now and player welfare is rightly massively important. I hope I’m not going a little bit too over the top about it, I’m not a doctor, I don’t know the ins and outs, but I know that when Morgan came back out to see us he was a lot calmer and he felt a lot happier with himself.

“Thankfully in modern football clubs you’ve got these little ECG machines and that gave him a bit of a boost. Whether or not he’ll be medically ok for Monday, I don’t honestly know, we’ll wait and see.

“With Morgan, I think he has a bit of an issue when the weather turns, and it sounds really basic, but he’s a fair-skinned lad and when it starts to get a bit warmer he can suffer from an episode.

“I think because he was feeling it in the first half, he got himself into a bit of a panic and thankfully Walsall have got some equipment here, and the trace from that is fine.

“It’s come back as perfectly normal, he’s ok now, he seems in a good state, but when it comes to the welfare of players it’s so important. There’s no way we’ll take chances on that, and as much as we want Morgan on the pitch, and we want to win, his welfare is massive as far as I’m concerned.

“We took the decision to change it and hopefully he’ll be fine for Monday. We’ll see how he goes over the next few days.”

And on Josh Dixon, who limped off the pitch during the reserve game against Morecambe on Thursday, he told us: “The only thing I can say on that is that he’s been examined by the academy physio today and we’re hoping it wasn’t as bad as first feared.

“I’m not talking from experience here, but I think when you’ve had a history of having a cruciate injury, you’re going to panic when you get another knee injury.

“I hope panic is what it was, I hope it wasn’t anything serious, but I won’t know until we get back to Carlisle. I would imagine we’ll get him scanned so we can get a proper diagnosis on it. He’s had a really tough time so hopefully it isn’t a serious one.”

Also missing from the team sheet on Friday were defender Corey Whelan and keeper Magnus Norman.

“They were ill,” he confirmed. “Corey missed Monday’s game at Stockport through illness. He’s been out for a light jog yesterday, he’s going to do something again today, and well see how he is over the weekend, but he’s been struggling.

“It’s not Covid, he’s negative with his tests. Mags we thought had some food poisoning on Monday after the Stockport game, but he’s still struggling with it now.

“He can’t shake it off, whether it’s anything else I don’t know. But we had to make a decision that those two weren’t going to travel, we couldn’t have them around.

“We travelled with the 18 we needed today, and we’ll see how they are for Monday.”


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