Iron manager Stuart McCall has confirmed Matthew Lund faces six weeks out, with the midfielder set to undergo a clean-up operation on his knee next Tuesday.
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The former Burton man has struggled with a knee issue since before Christmas and will hope to return to action during the final month of the season.
McCall told iFollow Iron: “Lundy played on the Tuesday last week (in a behind-closed-doors game against Sheffield Wednesday), trained well on Thursday, but in the warm-up last Saturday, before the Accrington game, he felt his knee go sore again.
“It’s frustrating for the lad and for us. He’s not been a full tilt since he’s had the problem with his knee. He’s going to go and have the operation on Tuesday to clean out his knee, which will probably see him out for six weeks, and then he’ll be available for the back-end of the season.
“It’s disappointing and frustrating for him but, in the end, it’s the right thing for him to do and hopefully he can clear that up. With him not actually been fit enough to start, he feels as though he might as well get something done so he can get fully fit.”
As McCall told the press following the 2-0 home win over Accrington last weekend, striker Lee Novak is set to be rested this weekend before a likely return to training next week.
He added: “Novs will miss out. If it had been a cup final he’d probably have been fit to play. Likewise, if we’d have been lacking up front, I’d have asked him for another 90 minutes. Kev (Kevin van Veen) came on last week and scored a good goal, while Fela’s (Olufela Olomola) been doing well.
“Novs almost did the splits, slipping right in front of the dugout and tweaked a nerve but he’ll be fine to start full training next week. It’s nothing major, but with a long journey down and sitting on a bus for four or five hours after not training all week, it wouldn’t have been ideal for him. He’s played a lot of football this season, so giving him a rest won’t do him any harm.
“Looking at the long-term injuries, there’s Ryan (Colclough), Jordan (Clarke), Josh (Morris), CBJ (Cameron Borthwick-Jackson), Lundy, Rory (Watson) and Novs, plus Perchy out suspended – so that’s eight players missing this weekend. Thankfully, now we have a strong enough squad hopefully to get us through.”
Elsewhere, it’s been a positive week of preparation as United get ready for their trip to Gillingham on Saturday.
McCall watched an Iron XI defeat a Huddersfield team 4-2 in a behind-closed-doors game on Tuesday, providing valuable game time to the players on the fringes of the side.
He said: “We played a young but good Huddersfield side on Tuesday and it was an excellent game to watch. We had a few things to work on, which they took on board, and in the second-half they were strong. There were some very good individual performances throughout the side.
“In addition to that, the training has been bright and lively, as you’d expect. The weather’s been good and it’s been another good week on the training ground.”
United were defeated 2-0 by Saturday’s opponents at Glanford Park earlier this season, and McCall is hoping for a much improved display this time around.
He said: “When they came here, it was as flat as we’ve been. It was a low crowd, we were in a bad run and I just felt we never got out of the starting blocks whatsoever, and we were very unfortunate to go in at half-time 0-0. They then scored twice in quick succession straight after half-time. I often remind the lads when we’re playing at home that we can’t have another Gillingham performance. Thankfully, we’ve not had too many of them since.
“(Tom) Eaves up top is into double figures with goals and they have other good players but they’ve been on a sticky run and were beaten 4-1 at home by Barnsley last week, but that wasn’t down to them being poor – Barnsley were just absolutely terrific. We’ll focus on ourselves as always. They’re in a dogfight, like we are – we still need points and we’ll scrap for them.
“They’ve had a kick up the backside this week going by their manager’s comments and it could be the case of a ‘wounded animal’. You don’t like getting beaten at home any time, but when you’re turned over 4-1 you sometimes can’t wait to get back out there. They’ll be pumped up and we have to match their enthusiasm, and then build and put in a good strong performance that will get three points.”
Although the Iron were 2-0 victors against Accrington last weekend, making it six wins in eight games, McCall still feels there is room for improvement.
He said: “We know we can play better. We saw the game out okay, but it’s about focus and concentration, especially when you’re a couple of goals up - don’t make individual errors, let’s not go back to a few months back when we were making elementary mistakes and giving teams goals. If they are to score, make sure they have to work hard for it or it’s through producing some magic.
“I felt we could have been better in possession of the ball at times, which we’re working on every day in training. Overall though, it was nice to get the three points. It was a big win that we needed, and we go into this game in confident mood.”
Supporters can buy tickets for our next home match now, with United taking on Doncaster Rovers on Saturday, February 23rd (1pm kick-off). Get your tickets from www.sufctickets.com.