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Cox updates on team news ahead of Tranmere home game

8 April 2021

Iron first team manager Neil Cox has provided an update on injuries ahead of the home League Two encounter against Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.

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10 April 2021

Goalkeeper Mark Howard missed the away game at Carlisle United in midweek with a thigh injury sustained in the home Good Friday encounter against Crawley Town, and Cox provided an update on the 34-year-old, for whom Rory Watson came into the side to make his first league start in six months on Tuesday.

He told iFollow Iron: "Mark has a Grade 2 thigh strain and will be out for three-to-four weeks.

"It's an opportunity (for Rory) and he deserves credit for the way he's trained, and the way he's been around the place, encouraging people. He's done the right things and has an opportunity now. He made a great save (at Carlisle) and I don't think he could have done anything with the goals they scored."

Centre-back Emmanuel Onariase missed the last game with a hamstring injury, and the club are waiting to hear on the results of a scan, while attacker Devarn Green came off with a thigh problem in the early stages of the game against Carlisle, but Cox says if he'd stayed on longer it could have made the injury much worse.

He continued: "Manny is struggling with a hamstring injury so will miss out, though we haven't had the report back yet. Dev came off with a sore thigh and it's early days with that yet, but he'll miss Saturday's game and probably Tuesday's (at Morecambe) as well."

As Cox touched on post-match in midweek, defender Jordan Clarke picked up a knock and the skipper looks a big doubt for the weekend.

He said: "Jordan Clarke came in this morning with a really bad ankle, which he picked up on Tuesday night and managed to carry on, but he will probably be a doubt as well."

He continued: "There are a couple struggling with knocks who are 50-50. Lofty (Ryan Loft) has a sore groin so we need to be careful, while there are other bangs and bruises.

"We're down to the bare bones at the moment but we'll get on with it, and it gives players who are available an opportunity.

"Everybody is going to be needed, and we might have to change a few this week but we'll look at it and get a side sorted out."

There was encouraging news regarding centre-back George Taft though, who is ahead of schedule with an ankle injury sustained against Cheltenham Town six weeks ago.

Cox continued: "George Taft could be in the squad. Whether we play him will be a big gamble but we'll look at him and make sure his stats are up this week from the training sessions he's done, and that he's okay as we don't want to rush him. If he's fit, we'll play him but we have to look at the circumstances first. It has to be right for the team and the player though."

There was also an update on striker Kevin van Veen, who's missed the last three games with a knee problem which required an injection.

He said: "Kev's back in training and we'll assess him to see if he'll be available for Saturday.

"We've managed to get the boys who are fit on the training ground doing some work ahead of Saturday, but had a lot of people in the treatment room this morning, so it's been difficult."

Focusing on Saturday's opponents, who are under the management of Keith Hill and sit third in the division, Cox continued: "Tranmere have had injuries to key players. They play nice attractive football and have played with a diamond shape. They're a good side, have a lot of experience and are up there pushing for automatic promotion. We know it will be a tough test but it's about what we do. We have to better in the final third.

"I was disappointed with our performance on Tuesday night and we've got to be better than that."

See much more from Neil Cox on iFollow Iron. Click here to get your Iron vs Tranmere Rovers match pass.


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