One of the main aims of pre-season is to get as many players through it having avoided injury as possible, with managers rarely comfortable with taking unnecessary risks should players show any kind of sign that something may be wrong.
That was the case for United at Morecambe on Saturday afternoon when striker Ryan Edmondson was subbed at half-time when he complained of a slight irritation in the thigh area.
“He just had a bit of stiffness and I’d seen him after about 20 minutes flexing his thigh and hip a little bit,” manager Paul Simpson explained. “We’re in pre-season and it’s next Saturday when things really matter.
“I’m not prepared to take any risks and we’ve got Tobi [Sho-Silva] who is a willing runner, and he came on and did his job up front. I’d like to think that Ryan will be ok for Saturday. It was more a precaution that took him off.
“We’ll have to look at how he is next week, it’s too early to say now. He didn’t want to come off in all fairness. He told me he wanted to stay on.
“He actually said if it’s a league game you’re definitely not taking me off, and I wouldn’t have done that. But there’s no point risking it in a friendly.
“I said to the players on the first day back at work in June, my aim is to get through to the first game against Crawley with everybody fit.
“Obviously we’ve lost Taylor Charters, which is a blow, and Josh Dixon and Joel Senior are still not available. I also want Brennan Dickenson available, because I want to have a problem selecting the right eleven to start the game next week.”
“That’s another where we’ll wait and see because Brennan’s dead leg does seem to be worse than we thought,” he added. “It does seem to be taking a long time.
“We had him out on Wednesday afternoon but it was still very sore. With a dead leg it’s one of those where you don’t know how long it’s going to last, so I’m hoping that it settles this week and he’s back with us again.
“It wasn’t a case of us taking precautions with him, he just wasn’t fit to play. But I have to say that I thought our two wing backs were outstanding.
“Jack Armer showed so much energy down the left and I really like Fin Back and his attitude to playing. He has a real front-foot mentality and he’s another who I really hope will improve over time.”
Good news came in the form of forward Omari Patrick making a welcome return following his troublesome summer.
“I hope he’s through it, but I’m actually just a little bit concerned as I’m watching the lads doing their running out on the pitch [after the game],” he said. “He’s walked off from that and I’m hoping that just means that he’s done enough.
“He’s got the GPS pod on so we know exactly what his running has been and I thought he looked lively.
“He’s obviously a bit rusty because he hasn’t had game time, but I’m pleased that we’ve got him back.
“He trained on Wednesday afternoon and then Thursday and Friday of last week, and I wanted to get him these minutes today. He’ll have another week of training this week and we’ll see where he’s at after that.
“He’ll get better, and he’s a great weapon to have in our armoury if we can make sure he’s available for next Saturday.”
And that will be the same for all of the players as he looks to keep as many selection options open as possible.
“We’re looking to just keep them all going this week,” he told us. “We won’t be doing anything massively different.
“On Monday, the lads who started and played long periods will have a second day of recovery, with a bit of football.
“The other lads will do some work to top up what they’ve done after the game. Tuesday will be a proper work day where we’ll get some technical stuff into them.
“It won’t be specific stuff where I’ll show my hand to the players what the team’s going to be, but more some generic structure of how we’re going t0 play, so it’s little reminders.
“On Thursday we do some team work, and Friday will be a very light session like a match day minus one normally is, and hope they go into the game against Crawley full of energy and enthusiasm.”
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