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Club News

MANAGER: It's better news

Paul Simpson with an injury update

9 March 2023

Club News

MANAGER: It's better news

Paul Simpson with an injury update

9 March 2023

In his latest injury update manager Paul Simpson confirmed that it’s been a week of better news, with players getting important minutes on Tuesday, and with other having reported in fit and well.

Match Previews

PREVIEW: Swindon

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On Paul Huntington, who picked up a groin niggle against Grimsby last weekend, he said: “He’s fine. He’s trained today, we’ve nursed him through the week and he’s ok.

“He did a bit of running on Wednesday on his own and he trained with the group. Barring something happening between now and Saturday he’ll be available.

“I’m hoping it’s the case that we got him off in time last Saturday. Credit to him for that, because he knows his own body. He knows what he can and can't do.

“And I think the fact that we were 2-0 up made it easy for him to say, look, I need to come out of it. So thankfully we got him off, we nursed him through the first three days of the week.

“To be honest, he's at that stage of his career where we have had to manage it. He doesn't do all of the sessions. He knows what he needs to do himself in the first part of the week and it’s a case of just making sure it's right. 

“When I went and met him in the summer and talked to him about coming in, I told him that the priority was for him to play. I want him to play as many games as he's fit and available for selection, and he's certainly done that.

“He's had a real good run. And we've sort of helped that by managing his training load and we've just got to keep our fingers crossed that we can keep him fit and available for selection.”


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Missing through illness last week was defender Joel Senior.

“He’s fine, and he was ok to be involved last week, but I was concerned that he hadn’t eaten anything for 36 hours,” he explained.

“I don’t think starting him would have done any good and I wanted it to be a high energy performance, with the way we started in particular, so I decided to go with Gibbo.

“Joel has trained all week, he’s fine, and he’s in the squad for the weekend. We’ll see what we do from there.”

Getting vital minutes on Tuesday at Workington were Ben Barclay, Josh Dixon and Ryan Edmondson, who are all well down the line in terms of their respective returns.

“They call came through with no problems at all,” he confirmed. “They all joined in training and the lads who played the full 90 minutes the other night have just done a recovery session.

“We’ve just got to build their fitness up and I have a decision to make as to whether or not they come into the group for the weekend away at Swindon, or whether we continue to build them up.

“We’ll hopefully have a game next week for them to get more minutes, and that will be for the whole group that haven’t been starting. They’ll certainly be involved.

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“We’ve just to try and keep everybody right and the challenge for me and the rest of the staff is to get as many people available for the run-in as we can. From there, if we have more available, it’s on me to get the selection right.”

“Edmo got his goal and that’s good for him because he’s had a tough time,” he told us. “He’s been through surgery and he’s worked extremely hard to get himself back.

“What I would say about Edmo is that the first time I spoke to him after he’d had the surgery I said to him that it was time to focus on it being eight to ten weeks until he’d be back. He said no, I’ll be back before that.

“He told me that he’s a good healer and that he was going to work really hard to get himself fit enough to help the team again. I think he probably could have played more the other night, but I didn’t want to push my luck with him or Ben.

“I did look at it and think that if we were ahead, and we took them off, that’s two really big characters. Without being disrespectful to the Cumberland Cup I have bigger fish to fry through the next 12 games and I wanted to make sure I didn’t push them so that it became detrimental to what we’ll need them to do going forward.

“That was the decision I made, I stuck with it, and unfortunately we did concede the two goals after they went off.

“Both Ben and Ryan are under consideration for Saturday, that’s a decision we have to make. We've got the 18 from last week, so we're getting better numbers available for us and it's a case of me working, with some help from the rest of the staff, to pick the right 18 for this week.”

“Josh Dixon will get confidence from his 15 minutes,” he continued. “He’s been working hard, tackling and pressing in training over the last few weeks, it’s been proper full contact stuff for him.

“He hasn’t shirked anything, he’s got stuck into challenges, he’s fallen over and people have landed on him, and all of the other things that go with playing football. He’s been fine with all of it.


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“He now needs to build himself up and get to a decent level of fitness. He’ll get more minutes next week and we’ll see how he goes.

“It’s going to be a bit of a challenge because we don't have a reserve or a 23s team where we're going to get a lot of games. We have a plan around Josh and all of the other lads who have not been starting in the first team in that we're trying to organise the game for next week for them to play in.

“Everybody will be involved in it who's not been getting minutes so that everybody gets up to speed and then we'll probably leave it for a couple of weeks and try and get another game. So for Josh, it's a case of just playing when he can, and we always wanted to get maybe 15-20 minutes into him on Tuesday night.

“Next week it will be looking to maybe get 45 minutes if he can deal with that and then we'll just keep building it towards the next game, and we'll just keep working with it. 

“Unless another opportunity comes up where we can get him out on loan at one of our local teams to be able to build up his fitness that way. But the problem we have with that is that everybody has their own challenges that they're going for and they don't necessarily want to just put a player in that's going to do us a favour.”

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And on the other players undergoing treatment, he said: “Jamie Devitt has trained fully this week, and so he will get some minutes in the game next week.

“It's too early to throw him straight back into the group for Saturday at Swindon, but it will be good to get him back. In terms of the others Taylor Charters has been out on the grass running.

“With Brennan Dickinson, he's out there running as well. Just at the start of his running work. Jack Ellis is back running again. Fin Back is back into full training at Forest. He needs to have two or three weeks with Forest and then they're going to put him into an 11v11 there at a training ground game, and then he’ll come back to us.

“So hopefully by the end of March, Fin will be back into the group. I think he'll give us real good competition in that right wing-back, right back slot, whatever it is.

“I thought he was excellent for us while he was with us and he is so keen to come back, he's kept in touch with me and he's been up here and watched a couple of games with his family and he wants to come back, and I'm looking forward to getting him back into the group and it's up to him to put on the performances that get him back into the team.


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“Every now and again, we'll just drop a little text message to each other. And he's probably one of the first text messages I got on Saturday night after the game. Just congratulating on the win and giving me an update of where he's at and just saying that he's looking forward to getting back into it.

“We know we’re going to have somebody who's got a bit of fire in the belly when he comes back into it and we look forward to that day.

"Taylor Charters has just started to run out on the grass and we’re just waiting to get the ok from his surgeon. He had a scan on Wednesday which has come back really positive, but we need the ok from the surgeon for him to go to the next stage. Hopefully by the middle of April he should be back into it."

The return of players, of course, poses more selection problems.

“It’s a great position to be in,” he said. “I had some huge selection problems over other parts of the season because I didn't have enough players, so I'm certainly not going to complain when I have too many, and I think at this point now that we're coming into this final run-in, it's just important that everybody sticks together and knows what their role is.

“Even if they're not starting they have to make sure as a finisher that they're ready to come on and be prepared to go and do a job. If they're not in the 18 they can still be a positive influence around training and keep standards high, and also be a positive voice in the changing room before and after games.

“We've all got part to play regardless of whether you're starting on the bench or in the stands. Everybody's going to be really important between now and the end of the season.”

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