Defender Fin Back and striker Kris Dennis missed out with minor hamstring issues today, so we took the opportunity to sit down and clarify matters with manager Paul Simpson during his post-match interview.
“It was a strange one with Kris because he’s had a little bit of a hamstring issue a couple of weeks ago, but he got over that,” he explained. “Right at the end of the game against Hartlepool he chased across from right to left to close a player down, and the ball got rolled back to the keeper.
“He chased on to close that down and he felt something tighten. He came off and told us about it, and we haven’t had it scanned, but we believe it’s similar to Fin in that it’s a grade one and it needs seven to ten days.
“He was sore during the week, but he trained on Wednesday and had a little bit of a reaction. We settled it down, he’s worked on it on Thursday and Friday, and again today, and the signs are very positive.
“That’s for him and Fin. I hope they’ll both be able to do more work with the medical team on Monday and Tuesday, I’ll check how they are on Wednesday, and then I’ll have them back with the group on Thursday and Friday next week.
“I’ve said it many times, I don’t want to take chances on hamstrings, you just can’t with that type of thing, but I do hope they’re back with us for consideration next week.”
Adding to the concerns today was Corey Whelan, who was treated for an ankle impact injury when he challenged with George Miller late in the game.
“The lad landed on him and he’s bound to be a little bit sore from that,” he told us. “Hopefully it’s nothing too much.
“I don’t know how bad it is but there’s no point taking chances. I really wanted to give Morgan a little taster, because there haven’t been opportunities to keep him involved.
“He’s a leader in the group the way he goes about it. Just to give him that little taster is what I wanted to do there. I’m sure Corey could have carried on if he wanted to, so I’m hoping he’ll be ok come next week.”
“Like I say, Fin Back and Kris Dennis have worked today, and they’ve come through that really well with no reaction,” he continued.
“That’s good because I want them back in the group. I’m considering whether or not to involve Tobi Sho-Silva on Tuesday, that’ll be a good addition for us even if it’s just to do the warm-up and to come on maybe for the last little bit, we’ll just wait and see.
“We’ll count the bodies, and I’m hoping we haven’t got any issues after this game. But, what can you do other than demand that the players who come in perform to the highest levels.
“I think it’s credit to the ones who are coming in, they’re all doing their job. That’s maybe the way they’re going about it.
“They’re doing really well, and when we start getting everybody fit, I said this before, it will give me some massive headaches, because there’s going to be a group of players who won’t even make the 18, but that’s a great challenge to have.
“Then we just keep going, because we know we’re going to get bumps in the road, but if they all stick together and show the togertherness I’ve seen as I’ve come in the changing room at the end there, we won’t go far wrong.”
Expanding more on that feeling of togetherness that is so important for any successful club, he commented: “That’s what you’ve got to have.
“Omari goes out, Fin goes out, Kris goes out, and we have Jack Ellis and Edmo who come in and do what they’re doing. Nic Bollado was on the bench, he wants to be involved, and Jayden comes off the bench and has a massive impact.
“I was really pleased to be able to give Morgan a little bit of time because he’s kept working and he’s such a good person to have around the place.
“We’ll work out who is right on Monday, and we’ll see if we can get out there and get through to the next stage of the Papa Johns on Tuesday night.
“But the way they’re doing things it tells me that they’re doing things properly when it comes to the work on the grass. It tells me the way they’re working for each other.
“I’ll be honest, as a group of staff we’re on at them all the time and we’ve had conversations this week about them not taking shortcuts and making sure they do things properly.
“They want to try and achieve something here and it’s one of those things in football that you’re only going to achieve it if you actually work hard.
“I know there was a really famous golfer years and years ago who said that the harder you work it’s amazing how lucky you get. We got those little bits of luck because of the way we went about it, but we have to keep doing it.
“I just hope they do because I hope they realise how close we are to being able to go and push on. I think the supporters are seeing it, and the numbers we got on a horrible day that shows that. We’ve just got to make sure we keep doing it.”