United boss Paul Simpson confirmed that it was bad news for midfielder Callum Guy who now faces a long lay-off following the first-half tackle at Barrow which left him on crutches after the game.
“It wasn’t good news for Callum, he has some damage to his medial ligament,” the manager explained. “We think that’s his season done, because it’s a six to eight week recovery process, and that’s really unfortunate for him.
“It was a block tackle, one of those innocuous things, and it’s a big blow to us. He’s a big part of us, he’s our captain for a reason, but just like with Jamie Devitt he still has a job to do for us.
“And then with Joel, our other long-term injury, we have to look after these lads and make sure we get them right and ready for pre-season.”
Speaking more about the role the skipper will have as he goes through the recovery process, he told us: “He can’t be on the grass for us, he can’t be involved in training, so he can’t show his leadership qualities there, but he still adds value to this group.
“Jamie is the same, he came to Barrow with us, he was at the pre-match meal, and he played a part in the changing room. I hope and know that Callum will do the same.
“The good thing for Jamie is that the surgeon decided he didn’t need surgery on his hamstring, but it’s a 12-week recovery period for him.
“I’ve talked about it from the first day I came in, it isn’t about a one to eleven, it’s about the whole group. It doesn’t matter to me if players are on crutches, or if they’re injured, whether they’re on the bench or left out of the 18, they all have a part to play.
“I want everybody to be doing what they can to help us to win games. And if a player misses out through injury, it opens a door elsewhere.
“That door opened last weekend when Corey came on, and when Danny came on, and they both showed us that we have options.
“It is unfortunate for Callum, we know that, but we need eleven players out there and that means someone steps in.
“The opportunity is there to be taken and as a team we have to move on and get on with it. It’s all about the team that’s picked getting us the next three points that are available.”
Away from team matters comes the human factor, in particular how Callum has reacted to being given the news that his season has come to an early close.
“I’ve seen him the last couple of days, I think he’s accepted it,” the gaffer commented. “It’s the really unfortunate part of football that you are going to pick up injuries, especially when you’re as committed as Callum is in the way he plays.
“It was a crunching tackle he went in for, I don’t think it looked a bad tackle, his leg wasn’t in the right position and it just opened his knee up.
“It’s not great, but we have to deal with it and get on with it, and make sure as a football club we look after him, keep him involved to have his value off the grass, and hopefully he’ll still be able to play his part for us.”
Better news on the injury front is the return to full training for defender Kelvin Mellor.
“I think this weekend is still a bit early, but it’s great that he’s with us again,” he said. “He’s had a really good week of training and he’s obviously a fit lad because he’s slotted back into it so well.
“I’m pleased with what he’s doing but we need to monitor him over the course of possibly another week or so, and we’ll see how he’s going on.
“Whether or not next week is still too early, we’ll just have to wait and see. Certainly by the Easter weekend I would hope to have him in a position where he can be involved.
“And we got Gime involved on Tuesday, it was good to see him out there. He showed some glimpses of what he can be, but he’s another we need to monitor.
“He needs to get fitter, that’s obvious to him as well, but we know he’s not the kind of player who will run up and down the pitch for 90 minutes.
“He’s one who could maybe become an impact sub for us through the initial part of his return. He can do things not many others can, so we have a decision to make on when the right time is to bring him back. It’s nice to have this kind of option.”
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