Hurst: Sears May Well Still Have His Part to Play
Thursday, 27th Sep 2018 17:51
Blues boss Paul Hurst hopes striker Freddie Sears “may well have his part to play” despite not having started a game since the opening week of the season.
Jon Walters’s loan-spell-ending achilles injury means other frontmen may get chances that might otherwise not have come their way.
Sears hasn’t been included in the last couple of matchday squads but Hurst says that has been down to a groin problem.
“He was injured, I’m trying to think whether that was for the last one, but he certainly was for the one before, I think he might have had a day’s training, something like that,” he recalled.
“But he’s trained this week, he looked quite sharp today, in fairness today. Apart from him wearing his trackie bottoms on a beautiful day like today, I don’t know how he manages that. He scored a few goals and certainly will travel with us to Birmingham.”
He added: “At the risk of someone somewhere saying I’m lying, I can only think that the first time it was just my decision to leave him out.
“He’s then definitely missed a game and realistically two through injury, it was a tight groin that he felt two days before a game and then wasn’t fit.
“Don’t absolutely quote me on it, I might have got the finer detail wrong but he certainly missed a couple of games through injury rather than just being left out after that initial game that he missed.”
Sears started the opening day game against Blackburn and then the Carabao Cup tie at Exeter but since then has made only one sub appearance, at Sheffield Wednesday a month ago.
Having struggled for goals in the last two seasons, many had felt that a change of manager might benefit the former Colchester and West Ham man.
“In fairness, I think some of the players have said he looked a different character pre-season,” Hurst added. “Again, I wasn’t here, I can’t really make that call, but they did say he looked lively.
“Freddie's a great lad, he’s not loud but you know that when something’s going on it often probably involves Freddie. He’s a funny character, he’ll be popular within the group.
“Freddie may well have his part to play. Just because I didn’t involve him in a squad it doesn’t mean he’s cast aside.
“He’s a player that we’ve got that has played at Championship level and you would hope isn’t going to be fazed by anything. And hopefully he feels like he’s got a little bit of a point to prove.”
Hurst says he didn’t consider playing Sears, 28, or Ellis Harrison, 24, in the U23s on Monday.
“I think I’ve shown already it won’t just be a squad that is U23s and no first-team players will play in it, but at the same time in Freddie’s case I don’t feel I get enough out of Freddie, I think he’d be better training with the group,” he said.
“And Ellis is probably similar at this moment in time. I know he didn’t get on at the weekend but he has had some part more often than not.
“And the hard part is if you do include them some other lads aren’t getting game time that probably need it more in terms of their development I would say.”
Among Hurst’s other striking options is summer free signing Jordan Roberts, who he says can play up front as well as wide.
“He’s played there for the U23s,” he said. “He switched the other day with Ben Folami. I think Jordan’s still got some work to do in all honesty to really push the likes of Ellis, Kayden Jackson and Freddie.
“But it is a position he’s played, I think he enjoys playing there, so it’s maybe something that we’ve got as another option that’s maybe the first thing that you think of. And let’s be honest, we might need that moving forward.”
Regarding Folami, Hurst says the Australian will be away for the next few weeks with the Young Socceroos at the 2018 AFC U19 Championship in Indonesia having spent time at a training camp in Sydney earlier this month.
Australia play South Korea Republic in their opening group game on Friday 19th October, Vietnam three days later and then Jordan on Thursday 25th October.
“He’s back out with Australia, he’s with their team and he’s got a tournament coming up so Ben’s away for over a month,” Hurst said.
“He had a couple of weeks away prior to that at a training camp to make sure that he was going to be part of that squad.
“It’s a great experience for him but he’s not someone we’re going to be able to call upon at this present time.”
Is the 19-year-old someone who has caught his eye? “At times, yes. And at other times he’s not quite been at the standard that you would have to be to really come into the thinking.
“But that’s like a lot of young players, it’s very rare that you get a young player that can consistently stay at a level, there are lots of ups and downs and I think Ben’s been like that really from coming in.
“He caught the eye, then he struggled in a couple of games, then he’s kind of been with the U23s more.
“But I have to say when he came back from Australia and had a couple of days with us, he looked sharp and he did well in the game the other day, so hopefully that experience has helped him and when he does come back I’m hoping that he’ll be in a good place.”
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