Manager Paul Hurst has provided an injury update, previewed the test Newport County will pose at the Sands Venue Stadium on Saturday and also spoken about this week’s transfer activity in an interview with iFollow Iron.
He started with an update on Kevin van Veen, who came off at half-time of the Leasing.com Trophy third round win over Manchester City U21s in midweek with a dead leg.
Hurst said: “Kev’s is a dead leg. They can often go away quite quickly, but there was no change whatsoever on Thursday and on Friday morning from Wednesday, so there’s obviously something not quite right in there. He’s looking a major doubt for us.
“Rory McArdle is also a doubt. He’s nowhere near fully recovered from his illness, while we also have Alex Gilliead carrying an illness too. He has a chest infection, which is never great when you have to run around. We’re going to be stretched but we’re going to have to pick a team that we think’s right for the game based on what’s available, and it’ll be an opportunity for one or two players who haven’t played too many times for us. I still expect us to be competitive.
“Only Kev picked up an injury the other night. It was good to get Jordan Clarke back out there, Jacob Bedeau, John McAtee getting more minutes and Jordan Hallam playing a part off the bench too. He’s had to be patient and get through some injuries.
“We had quite a few players in the fledgling stages of their careers out there the other night and that’s a positive. It might be how we have to go, whether that’s tomorrow or looking towards the end of the season. We’re going to have to look at some players, give opportunities and try to come to an understanding of where they’re at and what their contributions can be moving forward.”
He also gave his views on this week’s transfer news, which saw Kyle Wootton move permanently to Notts County, Lewis Butroid and Andy Dales go out on loan, and Jamie Ward looking for other opportunities with his contract at the club expiring this month.
Hurst said: “I think Kyle was one that was on the cards for a while. He’s done well at Notts County and we can fully understand why they’d want to proceed with that. I still believe it’s the right thing for the player and I told Kyle that. We certainly have no ill feeling towards each other and I wish him all the best. He’s a good lad and I think he was ready for a change and he’s earned himself a permanent move in the first half of the season.
“Lewis Butroid has gone up to Spennymoor and he needs games. We’ll be keeping an eye on his progress. He’s got to the point where he’s come to see me a couple of times wanting to get out on loan. I like the fact that an opportunity has arisen that isn’t 10 minutes down the road. He jumped at it and hopefully he can enjoy his football and get lots of minutes there.
“Dalesy went up to Hamilton, and we sat and had an honest conversation prior. I’d be more than happy for him to be here still but what I couldn’t promise him was starts and game time. I haven’t got a crystal ball and can see into the future that people are going to stay fit, etc, but I think the form of Abo Eisa and Alex Gilliead in general would make it difficult for him to force his way in front of those two if things carried on as they have been. With that in mind, and the fact he enjoyed his time up in Scotland (on loan with Dundee for the second half of last season), he decided to take the opportunity that Hamilton have offered him. We have an option (on his contract at the end of the season) so will see how that situation develops and how he gets on up there, wishing him all the best. I like the fact he came out of non-league and have a lot of time for him so hope it works for him.
“The last one is Jamie Ward. We couldn’t come to an agreement in terms of his future and getting the game time he would like. We were delighted when we got him and he certainly showed in certain points why we brought him here. What people probably didn’t see was how he was off the pitch, and I mean that in a positive way before anyone gets the wrong idea. He was really good to have around and you could see why he’d played at a higher level, and the standards he’s had to get to be at the clubs he’s been at. It was just frustrating for both parties that we couldn’t get him out on the pitch more often and see more of him playing like we know he can. We wish him all the best and whoever picks him up will be getting someone of undoubted quality.
“At the minute, it’s all about players out rather than in and we’ll have to try and work with the squad we’ve got.”
Looking ahead to facing a Newport team this weekend that haven’t won in the league since they defeated the Iron 2-1 at Rodney Parade in October, he said: “I’m amazed at that stat, because they’re a team that teams don’t like playing against and I mean that with all respect. They missed out on promotion last year in the play-off final (against Tranmere) and perhaps should have had a penalty. I’m sure that still sticks with Michael Flynn, and you don’t suddenly become a bad team. I think they’ve had some injuries to contend with, and have shown enough in the last two seasons that they can get results. They have games in hand which can help them climb up the table too.
“We know what to expect in certain aspects of their play, though we don’t know in terms of formation and personnel. When we get the teamsheet, it wouldn’t surprise me if they could play two or three different ways with that line-up, so it’ll be a game where we set off and try to quickly assess what they’re doing, but if we can get on top of the game it’ll be down to Newport to try and change that. We know what we have to do if we want to get the victory.”
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