When you’re a squad that’s been dogged by injuries the last thing you want to see is a player hobble off the pitch towards the end of the game, but that’s what happened after midfielder Callum Guy was caught as he went for a 50:50 challenge almost on the stroke of full time.
“All I know is that he rolled his ankle,” manager Paul Simpson said. “I’ve no idea how bad it is, I’m hoping it’s just a twist. He wasn’t in the treatment room at the end, he was in the changing room, and I think that’s a good sign.
“But it’s too early to say. Sonny Hilton left Newport last week and I had him in mind to be playing on Tuesday at Grimsby, and then on Sunday I found out he’d be out for possibly six to eight weeks.
“I don’t really know on Callum right now, but I do know he’s done really well in midfield and I thought in the first half he was the one who tried to get it down and get us going. Let’s wait and see. He’s had an ankle injury in the past so that’s something to watch.
“I was quite lucky in my career that one of my worst injuries was my ankle, it’s horrible when you first do it and then sometimes it settles down. Touch wood it’s going to do that and he’ll be able to train this week.”
“Obviously as soon as it happened I was thinking of taking him off and I just wonder, if I’d got him off earlier, whether Taylor Charters with his left foot might have been able to strike that chance on the volley better.
“But fair play to Cal, he got a really good connection on it and it could have just gone anywhere. It’s sod’s law, you’ve got one player who’s struggling to walk and the ball drops to him. Thankfully it wasn’t a case of the ball dropping over his head and he had to make a recovery run.”
On the brighter side of the injury situation was the return of Morgan Feeney and Omari Patrick.
“Having them available, it certainly gives us options,” he commented. “That isn’t me being disrespectful to Ryan Carr and Jack Ellis.
“Sometimes you just want to see experience on there, and we want the players on the bench to give us those options.
“I consider Morgan and Omari to be starters, so when they are on the bench they’re definitely in mind to help to change things up for us.
“We just need some more to be pushing and maybe giving me a stronger hint that I can freshen it up when it needs it.
“I didn’t feel Omari and Morgan were fully ready to start the game, but they added to the group. Now they’ll get another week of training into their legs and hopefully be even more ready.
“I also have to say that I felt the team from midweek deserved the opportunity to go again. I’m not saying I was right, because looking at them we probably needed a bit more energy.
“I just didn’t want to take a chance, risk it, because if I’d left one of the forward players, either Jack Stretton or Kristian Dennis out, you lose them straight away because of how well they’d worked.
“If I’d left Corey Whelan or Jon Mellish or Paul Huntington out, for Morgan, you lose them straight away, because they’ve also done really, really well. They deserved another opportunity.
“I just have to think about whether or not there was enough freshness about it. I’m maybe not very good at rotating a group of players, it’s not something I’ve often had to do.
“But we’ve taken a point out of a game that we could quite easily have lost if things had gone against us. We’re sat ninth in the table after 11 games. Let’s be thankful of that.”
Two other players edging ever closer to a return are defender Ben Barclay and forward Ryan Edmondson.
“With another week of training ahead of us they’ll certainly be a week closer to being ready, that’s for sure,” he told us. “It’s maybe a little bit early at Hartlepool for Ben Barclay, because he’s been out a long time now.
“Ryan Edmondson, with a week’s training, he might be ready. We’re just going to have to wait and see. He’s determined to get back quickly, but we won’t take any risks. He’s ready when he’s ready.
“This week is a training week for everybody, and we’re also going to give them a couple of days to rest. It’s a chance for us to work them with a couple of days of really good sessions.
“We’ll have the final day of preparation for Hartlepool on Friday, and like I say it’s a chance for us to get more quality time into Morgan and Omari, and get Ryan and Ben even more football training.
“They’re getting ever closer, so they’re going really well. It’s a case of getting as many people as possible ready to go. We’re not in a difficult position, there isn’t a crisis here.
“We’re in a good position, a very good position, I would say, and the players have done absolutely magnificently well so far for us. What I don’t want is for it to fall away because we don’t have the energy and we haven’t got the spark to keep the momentum going.
“That’s why we’ll do our work this week, assess it, and see where we are with everyone come Friday.”