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Hurst reacts to Ward swoop, plus updates on injuries ahead of Bradford

26 September 2019

Manager Paul Hurst has provided his reaction to the signing of forward Jamie Ward on a short-term contract, as he also previewed the home clash against Bradford City on Saturday with iFollow Iron.

Speaking about the addition of 33-year-old Ward, which was announced on Wednesday, he said: “We’re pleased we have another attacking option. Jamie gives us flexibility and can play anywhere across the front four positions. He’s certainly played in all of those on numerous occasions and has the quality. We’ve brought him in as an attacking player, and not as a centre forward or as a right-winger. Having trained with us for a few days, and watched him, we had a good chat and were close to doing something before last weekend. It took a little bit longer but we’re pleased to have him on board now.

“He’s shown really good quality and I know what his attitude is like. He wears his heart on his sleeve and fans can see what he’s about. Opposition teams and defenders certainly know what he’s about, and he’s got a lot of ability. His finishing in training has been excellent. He picks a pass well, and knows through his experience when to slow the game down as well as when to speed it up. We’re looking forward to getting him out there. He’ll benefit the group as a whole and be a good character in the dressing room as well.”

When asked whether he could start against the Bantams at the weekend, the boss continued: “Starting might be a big ask but we’ll see. He’s itching and ready to go. He has admitted himself that he won’t be the fittest he can be, but in three or four weeks certainly. He’s definitely in a shape where he can contribute now though. We’ll get through training on Friday and then make a decision on what we do.”

This week also saw Andy Dawson depart his role as the Iron’s first team coach to take on a role as lead professional development phase coach at Hull City.

Hurst added: “We were disappointed to see Andy go. I got on extremely well with him, he’s a very good guy and works hard. He has lots of enthusiasm for his job and has been a credit to himself since I joined the football club.

“He held the position of manager at the end of last season and had a difficult time but, certainly having worked with Andy, I know how much effort and time he’ll have put into that.

“I have nothing but 100 per cent praise for Andy in the way he conducted himself and gave everything to try and support myself, Chris (Doig, assistant manager) and do the best for the football club. We’re sad to see him go but pleased for him in that he’s got an opportunity to work with his own group of players over at Hull, and I’m sure he’ll do well there.”

Hurst also provided an update on injuries following the midweek Leasing.com Trophy group stage clash against Leicester City Under-21s in midweek, adding: “Andy Butler slipped at the end but he’ll be okay. Ryan Colclough has a bit of swelling on his knee but I don’t think it’s anything more than a reaction from his body to protect. Fingers crossed, he’ll be okay but we’ll have to check on him ahead of the game.

“From the previous Saturday, Yann (Songo’o) and Junior (Brown) have both trained since Tuesday, so we’re not in bad shape. It looks like we will still be without Jamie Proctor and Lee Novak, but they’ve been on the grass at least and are still making some progress.

“There were a lot of positives to come out of Tuesday, with numerous players returning from injury and starting a first team game again, while Ryan had the chance to build on 90 minutes at Walsall with another full game. It got minutes into the legs and some were understandably a little bit tired. We’ll go into training on Friday and see which of those lads will be involved on Saturday.”

Talking about the clash against the Bantams on Saturday, Hurst continued: “Gary (Bowyer, Bradford manager) went in last season and it gave him the chance to start shaping things and they’ve benefited from that at the start of this year, and lived up to the tag of being one of the favourites to come back up to League One.

“They certainly have a couple of experienced strikers who are big to their team (Clayton Donaldson and James Vaughan), but it’s not just about those two. They’ve started the season well and we expect a tough game. They will bring a big crowd with them on Saturday and hopefully our fans will respond to that as well, but it’s most important that the players do, and enjoy that atmosphere and challenge of playing against one of the stronger teams in the league.”

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