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MAKING STEADY PROGRESS

21 March 2014

Iron manager Russ Wilcox has confirmed striker Deon Burton is making steady progress as he looks to complete a return from injury.

The 37-year-old striker has been out of action since suffering a calf injury in January’s 3-3 draw with Dagenham and Redbridge in London, but is hoping to be back to play his part in United’s end of season run-in.

It was initially hoped the veteran forward would only be missing for a couple of weeks, but Burton is set for a further examination of the injury this week, and Wilcox told The Iron Player: “He’s progressing, but progressing slowly.

“There are signs that he’s getting better. He’ll have another scan on Thursday so we should know a bit more then. He’s up to jogging now, and he’s looking ok.

“I don’t want to get too excited by it. He’s still a few weeks away at least, but Thursday will give us more indication of where he is at."

Arguably the most valuable asset Burton offers is experience, having played a key part in Gillingham’s promotion from League Two last season.

That experience could prove vital in terms of helping the Iron get over the finishing line as they continue their promotion charge, and Wilcox added: “He’s been out a while now; I think it’s eight weeks, and I didn’t expect him to be out that long.

“That’s the way it is. Every injury is different, and takes different times. He will be back when he’s back, and it will be great when that happens.”

The prolonged absence of Burton has seen Wilcox delve into the loan market to strengthen his squad at a vital stage of the season, with striker James Alabi re-joining the club on a temporary deal from Stoke last week.

Alabi enjoyed an immediate involvement after featuring as a substitute against Southend United last Tuesday night, and Wilcox said: “He’s done well. He knows some of the group from last season, and that was behind the thought process of it – knowing the group, and knowing what he’s like as a kid.”

“We gave him 20 minutes against Southend, but I felt Saturday was a game more suited to Paul Hayes. They [Plymouth] sat deep, so Paul could come on and link off the strikers.

“James will be used when he is needed, which is the same with every player. If you look at the two previous games, they were chalk and cheese.

“Southend was a 100mph high-tempo, whereas Plymouth was more of a pre-season game. They sat off and allowed us to play, so I’m really pleased with how the players managed the two games.”

See much more from Russ Wilcox, Terry Hawkridge and Sam Slocombe on The Iron Player.

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