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MANAGER: Light at the end of the tunnel

Paul Simpson with some positive injury news

29 September 2022


MANAGER: Light at the end of the tunnel

Paul Simpson with some positive injury news

29 September 2022

Having already admitted this week that the injury situation is starting to ger annoying, with 11 players missing in action on Tuesday night, there was only really one place to start when we sat down with manager Paul Simpson on Thursday afternoon.

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29 September 2022

“I’m getting fed up of the injuries, not the questions about them,” he told us. “To be honest, I’m starting to see a bit of light at the end of tunnel.

“We’ve obviously got the long-term injuries with Scott Simons, Brennan Dickenson and Josh Dixon, and those three lads are still working indoors at the moment.

“Joel Senior has been out on the grass this week doing a bit of running and ball work, and he’s ticking off all of these little landmarks as he works his way back to joining in full training, around the end of October.

“Tobi Sho-Silva has been out there as well. He’s gone to do some biodex testing to see where his strength levels are, comparing the quads to the hamstring, left and right, and that sort of stuff. We’ll wait for the specialist to say what he feels should happen next with him.

“Out on the grass doing a full session for us today were Morgan Feeney, Ryan Edmondson, Ben Barclay and Omari Patrick.

“Obviously we’ve lost Sonny for however many weeks and he will go down to Fulham next week for the early part of his rehab. Jamie Devitt has his second injection on Monday, and he’s feeling much better about things with the way the first one went.”

“There are a lot of good things, but I do still think this weekend is too early for Ryan and Ben,” he added. “Hopefully we’ll get no reaction from Morgan and Omari and they’ll be available for selection for the group this weekend.

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28 September 2022

“They’ll only even be on the bench if I think they’re fit enough to affect the game if I need them to go on, so we still won’t be playing safe or taking any risks.

“With all four of them we’ll make sure they get another good week, and if they aren’t ready for the Hartlepool game we could look at them being involved in the Cumberland Cup game at Cleator.

“We want people like Omari to be confident of getting a run of games and not be in a position where he’s breaking down with other related issues.

“We’re starting to get there, but it has been really frustrating. It’s odd because we have had so many. I don’t know, maybe the technology we have these days has improved, as has the physiotherapy side of it, and what that brings.

“The levels of diagnosis on injuries are so acute, I don’t know. I could also say some negative things, but I’m not going to.

“All of that has improved and it means we’re diagnosing more injuries than we used to see. It’s not just us, it seems it’s right up and down the country, because there are so many teams who are going through it.

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28 September 2022

“We’re not the only ones, but we are the only ones we’re bothered about. We had 11 players out last Tuesday night, and that tests any squad. I suppose it’s credit to the players that are fit and available that they go and get a draw at Newport, and a win at Grimsby.”

And for the four returnees of Barclay, Dickenson, Feeney and Patrick, he confirmed that it was a tough session, with no holds barred.

“It was, yes,” he said. “What we tend to do on a Thursday after a midweek game is get the players who have played to do an upper body session in our gym before heading up to Everlast for circuit training.

“The rest of them come out on the grass and do a top-up session. We had 13 players who were out on the grass and those four were part of that.

“They’ve done a really intense set of work with a lot of stopping and starting, but the one thing we probably don’t get for them within that type of session was the long, extensive runs where you’re really having to get towards top pace.

“With that in mind Jamie [Roper] puts in a couple of runs to get a minimum of 90 to 95%, and I think we had two of them who did get over that 90% mark.

“We’ll see how they react but they’re back in full training, we’ll have them training again on Friday, and we can assess it for the weekend from there.”

The important thing from a squad that has been stretched and tested is to see them come through it, which they most certainly did from two tough away games.

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28 September 2022

“I’ve known what’s in the dressing room from the first day we got together in pre-season,” the manager told us. “Even people like Nic Bollado and Ryan Carr, who come into it because numbers are down, I knew in pre-season that if they were called upon they’d be able to do a job.

“Nic came on at Newport and did a great role for us, which helped us to get the point, and Ryan hasn’t had his league opportunity yet, but he deserves to be with us.

“We’re going to have a situation in a few weeks, fingers crossed, where we will have lots of bodies available. That’s when it becomes a test of what the character is like and what the togetherness is like, because that’s when some players won’t be selected.

“If you’re not in the team, that’s when you have to still be happy about the fact we’re winning and picking up points.

“They need to know that when their opportunity comes it’s much easier to do it as part of a winning group than it is if there’s a little bit of friction and it’s losing and scrapping for its life.”

“And I can definitely say that those who played at Newport and Grimsby have made their claim,” he concluded. “We had so many good individual performances.

“I thought they all put an incredible shift in when I was watching it, and the GPS data backed that up. They blocked, defended, and hopefully they’ll all be fit from the knocks and bruises and we’ll have them all available again.

“I’d like to think that after a performance like that they’ll want to be back out there again for us on Saturday. I want them to make it difficult for me by saying - I’m ready, I’m available, you drop me if you can.”

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