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Manager speaks ahead of this weekend's home game

8 January 2021

First team manager Neil Cox provided his latest team news and views to iFollow Iron ahead of the home encounter against Bradford City on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

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9 January 2021

United have boosted their squad with the additions of experienced pair Jem Karacan (free transfer) and George Taft (on loan from Bolton Wanderers this week) and Cox explained how they've done on their first days since signing.

He said: "It's been a good week with managing to get a couple of new bodies into the club, which is excellent. Obviously Jem's signed, who we've seen training with us for the last seven or eight weeks, while Taft has come into the building, and he's a big lad with a strong mentality.

"It helps raise the standards and I think Jem's led by example with the work rate put in even though he wasn't under contract to this football club in that time. He was a great example to the other lads

"When new faces come into a club, it brings a spark of life to the place and I think that's what the two new signings have done for us.

"We've trained this morning on 3G so we'll just have to be careful, but they're both in the squad and we'll look at them and the other lads when we get in tomorrow."

There was also a boost regarding Emmanuel Onariase (ankle) and Harrison McGahey (hamstring), who had originally been ruled out until the end of January.

Cox added: "Manny trained on Friday morning, but on a 3G pitch, so we'll give him a fitness test on Saturday morning, while Harrison is back in training, though still a little bit off. Hopefully we can get him some minutes in an Under-23s game next week, and can push him forward with that. It's excellent news because he's three weeks ahead of schedule."

Myles Hippolyte returned to training on Friday as he looks to recover from an ankle injury sustained in the 2-1 win at Walsall last week.

The boss added: "Myles trained on Friday as well. It might be a little too soon for Saturday but he won't be far away hopefully.

"He played really well in his last game at Walsall, scoring his first goal, and he just wants to get back fit and put pressure on other people to get into the side."

Junior Brown made his comeback from a thigh injury by playing for the Under-23s at Grimsby Town in midweek, and Cox added: "Junior played 45 minutes and that was pre-planned. We'll take stock and look at him tomorrow when we get in."

The game also saw Andy Dales come off injured, and the manager spoke about that and provided a transfer update, saying: "Dalesy was meant to go out on loan but it looks like he will be out for two-to-three weeks with a sore ankle. We should know more in a couple of days how long he will be out for.

"One or two of our boys might be going out on loan but we're waiting to see what's happening with Covid testing in the lower leagues, but it would be good for some to go out and get experience.

"We're hoping to sign one more if we can. We're speaking to a couple of clubs at the moment but four or five clubs are interested in a particular one we want, so we'll have to wait and see."

Assessing the challenge the Bantams will pose this weekend, he said: "They will be fresher having not played last weekend. They're in good form and have a couple of ex-players coming back who will want to do well. I think the midfield battle will be really important, so we have to make sure we're on top of that. We have to defend really well as a team and then when we get forward take our chances.

"(With no midweek game) it's been good to get them on the training ground this week, doing some good work."

See much more from Neil Cox on iFollow Iron. Click here to get your iFollow Iron match pass for the game against Bradford City.

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