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MANAGER: He could be out for four to six weeks

Paul Simpson on team selection and injuries

6 September 2023

There were nine changes from the weekend starting line-up for the EFL Trophy tie at Accrington on Tuesday with manager Paul Simpson admitting afterwards that he hadn’t wanted to make that many, but that circumstances had dictated that it had to be the case.

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“Yes, it was nine, and to be honest I didn’t want to make that many,” he told us. “Tomas [Holy] was always going to be playing and I thought he did some good things, with a couple of good saves.

“Jack Armer has a bit of a back problem, a spasm, and that made him unavailable. We have to hope that settles down.

“Ben Barclay has got a calf strain that will put him out for four to six weeks. He picked it up when he was doing the work on the pitch at the end of the game on Saturday which, being honest with you, I’m really annoyed about.

“We had it scanned today and, like I say, it’s a four to six-week job. It’s such an innocuous thing as well. It didn’t look much but then he’s had the scan and it’s shown up that I think they said it’s a 10cm tear in his soleus muscle so it’s going to set him back a few weeks.

“There’s nothing we can do about it now. It opens the door for somebody else to come in as part of the 18, and it’s up to them to try to cement their place in it.”

“Sam Lavelle had a little bit of tiredness from the weekend in his hamstring,” he continued. “It’s not a strain but I didn’t want to risk him.

“I wasn’t prepared to risk Paul Huntington either, and Callum Guy has done a lot of high intensity work over the last few weeks, so we weren’t prepared to risk him.

“Dylan McGeouch started to tighten up a bit after he’d made a few recovery runs in the second half, so we took him to avoid making that any worse.”

On the new-look striker pairing, he commented: “I wanted to see JJ Kayode and Terry Ablade up front, and that’s why I had the two strikers out there.

“The plan was always for JJ just to get 60 minutes. I want to introduce him slowly so that we can consider him for the weekend without pushing him too far.

“They’ve all done a session today [Tuesday] back at the ground, but it was probably more changes than I really wanted.

"We had to change our shape as well after the break Fin Back had a split on his eye after he got elbowed on the far side. He’s possibly going to need stitches in that, we’ll need to see how he is.

"It was one of those decisions again that the referee hasn’t seen properly, so he had to come off. We weren’t prepared to take any risks because the top of his eye was closing over a little bit."

“Unfortunately we haven’t done enough in the game for players to really be banging on my door and saying they deserve to be in the team," he added.

“When I say they haven’t done enough, it wasn’t enough over the 90 minutes. We had 45 minutes of good stuff and then in the second half we haven’t kept that going.

“Whether that’s because they’re not used to playing games at that tempo, and they weren’t robust enough to keep doing things properly is a real concern, and it’s a challenge for them and us to get fitter.

“Maybe have to work them harder if they’re not used to the pace of this sort of game. Maybe we need to increase our work levels to get them fitter, because they didn’t look like they were fit enough to keep it going in the second half.

“That’s something where they have to look at themselves as well. We can’t do it all, they have to push themselves.

“The errors in the second half possibly come from a tiredness of mind or of body and unfortunately that costs you a game, because you have to be able to push yourself for 90 plus minutes in every game.”

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