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Hurst reacts to new signing, updates on injuries and previews Crewe at home

24 January 2020

Manager Paul Hurst has reacted to the loan addition of right-back Jordan Gabriel from Nottingham Forest.

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The 21-year-old joins the Iron until the end of the season, and will provide important competition in the right-back area following an injury to Jordan Clarke at Bradford City last week, that could potentially rule him out for the rest of the season.

Speaking about Gabriel, Hurst told iFollow Iron: “He gives us another option and has got good attributes. He’s athletic, quick, has a good attitude, and a willingness to compete so there’s an opportunity here for him. Hopefully he can grasp that and play well for us in the time that he’s here.

“It’s his first loan and sometimes you have to give people a chance. We feel he has the right attributes we look for in players and people, and we hope he can do well for us.

“We needed a right-back and with Jordan Clarke’s calf injury, which looks like it’ll rule him out for close to the remainder of the season, we didn’t really want to have to move James Perch, who I think has done really well in midfield for us and brings that experience in the middle of the pitch. There is Levi (Sutton) who can fit in there too, but I see him more as a midfield player.

“Like any injury, you monitor how the rehab goes. Sometimes there are setbacks and sometimes it can go quicker, but I don’t think it’ll be quicker unfortunately on this occasion, I feel for Jordan, as it’s another serious injury that he’s suffered.”

Fellow full-back Kgosi Ntlhe has also been ruled out until at least the start of March.

The boss said: “We had Kgosi’s Achilles scanned and it’s showing damage to three components in there, so he’s going to be out for a minimum of six weeks and potentially longer. It left us light in the full-back areas, because Kgosi has filled in at right-back a couple of times too.

“It made it difficult defensively and if we hadn’t had got Junior Brown signed, we’d have gone into the Portsmouth game with just three defenders. Jordan and Junior give us competition back there and cover.”

The boss continued with an update on Yann Songo’o’s road to recovery from a knee injury sustained at Grimsby Town in late December, and numerous other players.

He said: “Yann is back training in full contact. He’s not ready to be considered for the squad yet but he’s back, so that’s a positive. Kevin (van Veen, who missed a couple of games with a dead leg) came on the other night (at Portsmouth) and has trained two days since then, and looks as though he’s going to be okay.

“Novs (Lee Novak) has got an (ankle) injury but at the moment we’re not too worried because it might coincide with his suspension (finishing after Northampton away next Tuesday) and he’ll hopefully be okay after that. That’ll be something we check next week.

“Jordan Hallam (hamstring) has been back out on the grass but isn’t fit yet, while Rory McArdle (hamstring) is feeling better. The danger is he hasn’t damaged a muscle before so we need to make sure he is right when he does come back. He shouldn’t be out too much longer in truth, so hopefully we can get him back in the fold pretty soon.

“Regan Slater (ankle) is back at Sheffield United doing his rehab at the minute. I certainly don’t expect to have him back available for February certainly. It’s not out of sight, out of mind, but in terms of availability for us then he’s not one who will suddenly come back into contention.”

Previewing this week’s home clash against Crewe Alexandra, Hurst expects a tough test but is going into the game with optimism following impressive performances in the last two games at Bradford City (league) and Portsmouth (Leasing.com Trophy quarter-finals).

Hurst continued: “It’s a quick turnaround and we’ve done our video analysis, looking at a few things, but at the same time the previous game (against Crewe in December, where the Iron lost 3-1) is pretty fresh in people’s minds and we know they’re a good side.

“We have to hold our hands up and be honest about things – they were better than us on the day (when we played them in December). But even then, from a possession point of view we weren’t too far away from them, which a lot of teams really struggle with in that department when they play them.

“We weren’t good enough on the ball on the day and that was one of the reasons. We lacked a little bit of energy on the day, which is needed when you face a team who are extremely comfortable in possession.

“We’re hoping for a tighter game and we’re hoping to win it – that’s the bottom line. We have to improve ourselves and show that we are better than what we showed on December 29th.

“There are lots of positives from the last two games and we’ve shown we can take care of the football. We’ll certainly have to do that on Saturday.”

See much more from Paul Hurst, Junior Brown and Jordan Gabriel on iFollow Iron. Click here to sign-up.


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