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Drinan Set to Miss Two Months, Woolfenden Not Ready to Return
Friday, 18th Sep 2020 10:08

Blues striker Aaron Drinan could miss the next two months having suffered a thigh injury in last week’s League One opener against Wigan Athletic, while Town continue to have a number of other injury absentees ahead of Saturday’s visit to Bristol Rovers, including centre-half Luke Woolfenden.

Drinan, 22, has made a big impression since the start of the season having made his Town debut in the Carabao Cup tie against the Pirates a fortnight ago almost two years after first coming to the club.

“No, they’re out,” Lambert said when asked whether Drinan and Woolfenden, who picked up a groin problem in training a week ago, would be back for tomorrow’s match.

“The two young lads are out. Aaron’s more severe than Woolfy is but those two kids won’t be available.

“Aaron will be out for a couple of months. That’s football I guess, and that’s what you get when you have six months off. You know that anyway, that’s what can happen.

“Aaron will be missed for a couple of months, especially when he’s done that well for us. Nobody expected him to come in as quick as what he’s done and he’s playing really well for us, so you just have to get on with it.
“He’s got a problem with his thigh at the minute. We just have to get on with it and hopefully he gets back quicker rather than later.”

Lambert says no one would have expected Drinan to have made such an impact in the early weeks of the season and feels for the Irish U21 international.

“That’s the predicament we are in really, and I can guarantee nobody would have thought we’d be talking about Aaron at this stage of the season, nobody would have thought that.

“He was terrific in training and made me think, 'OK, I’m going to give you a chance here'. He impressed me in training and to be fair to him he took his chance and was playing ever so well. These things happen, but he’s proven to me that he could do something for us.

Lambert says Drinan is now viewed as a first-team player who will come straight back into the fold rather than dropping into the U23s once he's fit.
"He’ll come into the fold, and we’ll see how he feels and how he does. He’s certainly proved to me that he can perform.”

With Drinan out, Lambert seems likely to have to start either James Norwood or Oli Hawkins as his lone central striker, but with neither yet at full fitness.
“James is getting more game-time,” Lambert said. “Obviously, he’s not played as much as a lot of the other lads, but we’ll see how he is this morning and the after effects from the other night.

“Oli Hawkins’s game-time has been down, but I thought he was excellent the other night, so we’ll see how James is.”

Is Norwood capable of replicating Drinan's link-up play? “He’s going to have to because Oli Hawkins is great at it as well.

“Oli’s game-time is not what we’d like because he came in a bit later, but James as well, he can definitely score goals and if he can add that to his game then great. But Aaron Drinan is a definite blow that’s for sure.
Another option is playing Freddie Sears down the middle: “That’s the good thing about Freddie, he can play through the middle, but we’ll wait and see how everybody is this morning, and I’ll decide from there.”
Starting Sears down the middle could allow Gwion Edwards to come into the League One XI after impressing so far this season as a sub in the first three games and starting against Fulham, and scoring the second goal against Wigan last week.

“Gwion has done well in the last two games, he did well when he came on against Wigan,” Lambert added.

“And he did well the other night, so I’m really happy with how he’s playing. As I said, I’ll see how all the guys are this morning and how they are feeling.”
Lambert says he hasn't heard anything from Birmingham regarding another of his strikers Kayden Jackson - “No, nothing” - and says the 26-year-old is making progress regarding his fitness.

“Hopefully he trains this morning and we’ll see how he feels. This game is too soon for him,” he said.

Could he be back next week? “He’s been out a long time and it takes time to get back to fitness again, but we’ll see how he is this morning.”

Cole Skuse also remains out of action with the knee injury he suffered in training prior to the Cambridge friendly.

Although frustrated at losing Drinan at a time when his other central strikers are not fully fit, Lambert says it’s not to be unexpected in the current circumstances.

“That’s the predicament we’re in,” he reflected. “That’s the situation, this virus has caught everybody, not just us, a lot of teams, and we’ve played a lot of games in a short space of time already.

“I think we’ve got to cram in maybe 50-something games maybe in 35 weeks, which is an incredible time, but everybody’s in the same situation.”

Asked whether he believes Town have more injuries than other clubs, Lambert said: “I wouldn’t go down that route. The whole league is 22 or 28 per cent on average higher with injures [since returning from the lockdown] so it’s just the way football is.

“It’s six months off, it’s not normal, it’s not a normal situation with guys having that time off.

“I remember watching the German league when it first started in lockdown and guys were going down like flies with injury just because of the length of time they’d been off.

“It’s just a really dangerous time that we’re going through at the minute and guys that are athletes are asked to go really quickly.

“That’s why I don’t get why we have the cup competition, the EFL Trophy and things like that. Surely your body dictates that you can’t play game after game after game, it doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve always said that it doesn’t make sense.”

Lambert says right-back Kane Vincent-Young remains sidelined with the injury he suffered in pre-season. Quizzed on when he thought the former Colchester man might return, he said: ”I don’t know, his achilles is still giving him problems, so I don’t know.”

Centre-half Corrie Ndaba is also still out but is improving after suffering a knock late in the EFL Trophy tie against Arsenal’s U21s: “Dead leg, not too bad, getting better, but not too bad.”

In addition to the longer-term absentees, Lambert says a few players have knocks from Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Fulham: “We’ve still got one or two from the other night. Again, that’s the long time off and a lot of games coming in succession, so there’s one or two from the other night, but we just have to get on with it.”

Better news is that Jack Lankester is over the concussion he suffered in training: “Yes, he’ll train this morning hopefully and we’ll see how he feels.

“It’s been a real hard time for him. Just with the two back problems and then he battled back and he trained and got a slight concussion on the side of the head the other day, so we had to watch that.

“We’ll see how Jack is this morning, he’s had the time that you give when you’ve had a bit of concussion, he’s had the medical checks and the time to get back better, so we’ll see how he is this morning, and again I’ll look at him.”

Lambert says Flynn Downes is fine having made his first appearance of the season as a sub against the Cottagers following the Crystal Palace bids and his subsequent transfer request.

“He’s good, as I said the other night, just let the lad go and play,” he said. “He’s a young kid who is learning the game, learning the pitfalls of it, the ups and downs, just let him go and play. Whatever happens with Palace will happen, just let him go and play. He’s OK.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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Bergholt_Blue added 10:11 - Sep 18
Gutted for the lad
But something has to be wrong with our physio team

hampstead_blue added 10:13 - Sep 18

Something needs to seriously change at PR. The sheer number of injuries we get is mind boggling.

raycrawfordswig added 10:17 - Sep 18
If this happens when you have 6months off then every team should have long term injuries .

Blue12345 added 10:17 - Sep 18
The amount of injuries we have been getting over a period of time now cannot be a coincidence? This seriously needs investigating

Woodbridgian added 10:20 - Sep 18
Such a shame for Aaron who has really looked like he was going to cement a place in the starting line up. The level of injury’s we suffer just doesn’t seem right and it’s been a undoing problem for far to long now. IT can’t just be bad luck and needs sorting

DurhamTownFan added 10:21 - Sep 18
Ridiculous number of injuries at our club, and I’ve noticed that most appear to happen during training. What the hell are they doing in training?

Woodbridgian added 10:21 - Sep 18
Ongoing !

Billybobblue added 10:23 - Sep 18
Literally have the worst luck with keep players fit dont we.....
Feel for Drinan as he really has taken his chance and ends up sidelined with an injury after the first game of the season. Looks like ME and PL cant let Jackson or Norwood go at all based on this news.

TractorRoyNo1 added 10:28 - Sep 18
Shame, I thought he added something to the team

Terry_Nutkins added 10:37 - Sep 18
Nobody watched the spurs doc then...they have the best sports science going. Horrendous amounts of injuries. When everyone says they are professional footballers they can play game after came Sat/Tues. Nope.

This is bad luck/6 months off and then lots of games and higher intensity then he is used to. This is why there will need to be SOME rotation.

We're not actually terrible for injuries right now. We've got the long term ones out and we're being sensible with guys coming back now so we DON'T return to the long term long list.


Razor added 10:40 - Sep 18
Dont worry---I am sure our wonderful medical team will have them back on the pitch in no time!!

oldbri added 10:40 - Sep 18
Has anybody got a fit goal scorer because we are in desperate need of one.

Westy added 10:42 - Sep 18
Could just be had luck but we seem to have a history of injury to newly acquired players - and a lot of them in training. I am not a physio, but as I understand it, injuries (unless it is a result of a bad tackle or something) are a result of stresses built up over time so you do have to question what is going on behind the scenes.

ArnieM added 10:47 - Sep 18
...... and so this Clubs atrocious injury record continues . It can’t be just down to “ bad luck”. What the hell do the fitness and strengthening staff DO with the squad ffs??

Beattiesballbag added 10:51 - Sep 18
Is the physio an attractive woman ?..........just a thought .

WhoisJimmyJuan added 10:54 - Sep 18
ArnieM. There you go: OK for you to slag the club off here, using acronym-based swearing. Yet simultaneously you slag off others in other threads for being negative. Now the fitness staff might get upset reading your comments, but you said sicial media criticism is wrong elsewhere. You are a hypocrite.

Edmundo added 10:59 - Sep 18
Effectively Drinan was our only central lone striker near fit, and he's not used to the pace at this level. This is most likely the cause, but being brutal here, would we rather PL have risked Norwood for more game time and we be talking about him having a setback: he looks far from 100% still. Oli Hawkins is in need of some game time, but we have to trust that he's not looked as sharp as Aaron.
Often these younger players get back far quicker, so hopefully we'll see him end of October.

Ipswichbusiness added 11:18 - Sep 18
Shame for the lad; just broken into the team, playing well, then ...

blues1 added 11:28 - Sep 18
Some people on here simply have no clue. It has nothing to do with the training or the medical team. Have any of u ever played sport. Doesnt matter how fit you are. You can get an injury at any time, regardless. Grow up people and stop trying to find anything you can to slag the club off. Every club has injuries right now. The truncated preseason has caused injuries for most teams. People need to get real

Suffolkboy added 11:34 - Sep 18
Seems certain these injuries are NOT faked .or presented as any sort of excuse !
Then we’ve got to accept the challenge of covering , adjusting the system/ side and trusting our team to adopt new responsibilities and roles ,AND show application and determination to compete and contribute each for the other .
SO let’s wish all the injured every success in recovery , wish all the fit success in staying so — and wish ITFC managers good luck in managing to find resolutions which bring success !
Frustrations abound ,we all share them but should try to stay empathetic and positive !

Terry_Nutkins added 11:38 - Sep 18
Blues1 you can definitely give yourself a better chance of less muscular issues with the right fitness monitoring and regimes etc but I agree this isn't that surprising and this will happen in all teams in all divisions after the layoffs. Drinnan was actually being given less minutes than most so it's hard to blame anything but bad luck and inevitable issues.

Most of the knocks and things we have coming back we have been being really careful. In the past this is where we have failed so let's not be too quick to criticize the physios.

It's probably 1 game early but Norwood/Hawkins are about ready now so it's not the end of the world.


blues1 added 11:43 - Sep 18
Terry nutkins. Ur spot on. And we actually only have 4 players officially injured now. Woolfenden, drinan, kvy and jackson. Out of 30 odd players available for us to pick from is hardly massive. I do have my doubts about Jackson actually being injured but who knows on that 1.

trncbluearmy added 11:50 - Sep 18
Several sensible comments that I would like to agree with but one name seems to always crop up when thinking about this one

David McGoldrick sick note here, full season at a higher standard elsewhere

on top of that another club has criticised our sports science set up, it`s very difficult not to be suspicious that like everything else at ITFC since Evans arrived it`s got worse.

leftie1972 added 12:17 - Sep 18
Step up Tyreece Simpson?

TractorBoyOlly added 12:26 - Sep 18
Seriously wtf is wrong with our club?! I thought the injury nightmare would be one of the first things PR Paul would have changed. Its been a problem since Mccarthy.

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