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MANAGER: We're looking to get more of them fit

Paul Simpson with an injury update

23 March 2023

The return to starting action for defender Ben Barclay on Tuesday night was a reminder of how important it is for every member of the squad to be ready, as he was drafted in to replace the injured Paul Huntington at relatively short notice.

“Ben was outstanding, he slotted straight in, but I wasn’t surprised,” manager Paul Simpson told us. “He’s a good player, he’s a talker and organiser, and he’s very calm.

“He does things properly and he’s worked extremely hard to get himself fit. He’s waited patiently, he’s not even been on the bench in recent games, and once I knew Hunts wasn’t fit I had no hesitation in putting Ben in there.

“It may be the case that he has to do it again this weekend, we’re still waiting to see how Hunts is, we’ll be giving him as long as we possibly can. With the way we structure our travel we’ll be able to look at how he is before we leave and take it from there.

“What we won’t do is take anybody who doesn’t have a chance of playing, but let’s wait and see. The good thing is that we know we have options to back us up.”

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“What you want from your squad is players who are ready to come in and affect the game, and thankfully that’s what Ben and others have done for us recently,” he continued.

“You just have to have it. The games are coming thick and fast, obviously it’s Saturday-Saturday next week, but then it’s the Easter games over the following weekend. We’re going to need everybody, it’s a simple as that.

“We’re looking to get more fit, and Taylor Charters is looking strong out there. He’s running and not a million miles away.

“Jamie Devitt and Jayden Harris have been unlucky, they’re both available, and it’s down to us making the right selection from what we have. Everybody else cam through midweek ok, so we have the same 18 available from that.

“We have to keep the ones we have at the moment fit and up to speed, and of the mindset that they’re still involved and have a part to play. If we do that, we’ll give ourselves a good chance.”

On the imminent return of defender Fin Back, he explained: “We’re still waiting to hear if Fin is coming back to join us next week, so we are getting even more options.

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“We’ve gone from having no right sided defenders to real choices, which is fantastic. I didn’t know Fin had been on social media to say he was returning, but I know he’s looking forward to being back here and involved again.

“There’s been a little bit of a change of plan because they weren’t able to get a game for him last Tuesday, but they’re expecting him to play this weekend. We’re guided by Forest with all of this.

“They’ve said they’ll send him back when he’s ready, they’re the experts who have been dealing with him, and hopefully he’ll come through the game unscathed and he'll be raring to go when he returns. We all saw while he was here what a good personality he is, and what he can bring to the group.”

And on Jack Ellis, he added: “Maybe this weekend is a little bit too early for him. We’ll wait and see how he reacts over the next 48 hours because he’s had a really intense session today. We’ll see how he is.

“There is a possibility for this weekend for him, so that shows how close he’s getting.”

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