First team manager Neil Cox has provided an update to the supporters via the press ahead of Saturday's home League Two clash against Carlisle United.

Centre-back Harrison McGahey came off injured in last week's narrow defeat at Crawley Town, and Cox explained the latest in an interview with iFollow Iron.

He said: "Harrison has a hamstring problem, which is not good. He missed a lot of pre-season and has now come back in and is injured again. It's the way things will be (for a lot of clubs) this season as a lot of players went five months without playing.

"We have a big squad and while he misses out, someone will get the opportunity to come in.

"It's a shame for the boy. I think it will be around five weeks. He's with the medical staff now, who have been excellent since I came into the football club, and will carry on to do that."

He also provided updates on John McAtee, who is back in training this week after having to self-isolate for a fortnight after an unnamed team-mate tested positive for COVID-19, as well as Jordan Clarke, Emmanuel Onariase, Olufela Olomola and Jai Rowe who are all hoping to make a return to contention shortly.

Cox said: "Macca is back in the building and is a little bit off as he has been away for two weeks so we need to make sure we work him hard to see if he can be available for the squad on Saturday. If not, we'll have him back into it on Tuesday (when United take on Manchester City U21s in the EFL Trophy group stages).

"Because he had to self-isolate we need to be careful because if we push him too soon he could break down and get injured. We just need to do everything properly, work him on the training ground and see how his body adapts.

"We're just waiting for Manny, Fela and Jordan to get a game under their belts really, which is difficult in COVID times, but we might look at that on Tuesday night. Jai Rowe is a little behind on his fitness but is back in full training. He needs a game as well."

Looking ahead to this weekend's game, where United will be seeing a first league win of the season, Cox is hoping to build on last weekend's second half performance at Crawley.

"In the first two games we did really well but only have one point. We're now looking for the first win and to kick on," he said.

"We're looking forward to being back at home. The aim on Saturday is to get three points on the board.

"The week's been really good. We've had smiles on faces while working hard as well. We did a bit of analysis work after the Crawley game, where we played quite well in the second half but just let ourselves down in the last third with that final pass. We've worked on that this week and looked at being more positive in those situations and to create more chances.

"We were a little bit safe (in how we attacked in the final third) but it's just a case of getting to know each other. It's a new group and everyone's getting to know each other's strengths at the moment.

"Carlisle had a good win last week and play a 4-3-3 system with an energetic, strong, powerful front three so they'll make it difficult. They defended really well too, keeping a clean sheet and we have to make sure we create chances and are super-organised defensively this weekend.

"We're getting to know each other more and more, and need to make sure we perform for the 90 minutes this week - be focused on what we do with the ball, and how we're going to play."

See much more from Neil Cox on iFollow Iron. Click here to buy a £10 match pass for the game vs Carlisle United.

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