Nolan and Keane Back in Training as Lambert Plans to Utilise Squad Over Easter
Wednesday, 17th Apr 2019 17:17
Jon Nolan and Will Keane are back in training ahead of the East fixtures, but James Collins remains a doubt, while youngsters Idris El Mizouni and Corrie Ndaba could be involved as the already-relegated Blues take on Preston at Deepdale on Friday and Swansea City at Portman Road on Monday.
Regarding Nolan, manager Paul Lambert said: “He trained this morning for the first time, which is good because he’s been great for us. He trained, he had an illness last weekend. As I speak to you now, he’s OK.
“Again, Will’s trained over the last few days, so we’ll see how he is. Whether he’s fit enough to start I don’t know, but he’s back training.”
Nolan has missed the last three games with an achilles injury, while Keane has been out since the Wigan match in late February due to a hamstring problem.
Collins returned after a calf problem against Birmingham last Saturday but was forced off on the hour.
“James might struggle, we’ll see how he is again tomorrow,” Lambert added. “I thought he did really well the time he was on, but that’s probably the frustration for him, he’s playing and then coming off. We’ll see how he is.”
Fellow Welshman Ellis Harrison isn’t yet ready for a return: He has [missed a few games], he’s had a problem with his back, this one will be too early for him, whether Swansea or Sheffield United I don’t know.”
He added: “There are one or two little knocks from the weekend, but again we’ll see how everybody is.”
Lambert says Tom Adeyemi came through 45 minutes of the U23s game against Nottingham Forest on Monday without a problem, the midfielder’s first game since the opening behind-closed-doors pre-season game against Kilmarnock in Spain.
“Yeah, Tom’s come through that, it’s his first game in a long while,” he said. “Again a bit like Emyr Huws, there’s no real pressure from me, their health’s important because they’ve got careers themselves they guys so you can’t rush anything like that.”
Lambert says he’s considering experimenting in the remaining four matches: “I might do, I might give one or two a wee chance at it to see how they do. As I said before, there’s a lot of good things here and one or two of them might get a wee chance.”
He says he doubts there would be complaints from other clubs’ managers if he does field what they might view as understrength sides against teams they’re competing against for places.
“No, I don’t think other managers really do that,” he added. “I’m going to try and win games and it doesn’t matter what team I play or who I think should be in the team or anything like that. I’m going to try and win games, so my main concern is this football and nobody else.
“We’ll have to try and utilise everybody, and whether one or two get little knocks or whatever the case may be, we’ll need to utilise most of the squad.”
Lambert says young midfielder Idris El Mizouni, 18, could come into his thoughts for a full debut having made three appearances from the bench so far: “I don’t know, he’s doing well, I’ll have a look at it and see.”
Central defender Corrie Ndaba, 19, who has skippered the U23s this season without so far featuring in the first team, will also come into his thoughts over the weekend and Lambert says the recent Irish U21 call-up will definitely make his senior debut at some point before the end of the season.
“Corrie will play at one stage before it finishes whether it’s Friday or Monday or Sheffield United or Leeds United, because I have to see what he can do,” he continued.
“He’s been doing well with his own age group, but first-team level is a big jump, but you won’t know until you throw them in, but he’s definitely got a chance.”
He added: "A left-footed centre-half is a unique position and the club let go one or two left footers, and Corrie’s done well enough in his own age group."
Might fans see less of the loanees now this season is effectively over? “I wouldn’t say that. The biggest compliment I give the loanee lads is that they’ve all fitted in really well and they’re all good guys.
“There’s not been one loanee where I’ve thought they don’t want to be here and not really at it.
“I still don’t have a problem with the loanee lads being here or playing. I’ll look at it and I’ll just pick a team that can go and win games.”
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