Norwood and Drinan Back in Training But a Couple of Injuries Picked Up This Week
Friday, 20th Nov 2020 10:38
Strikers James Norwood and Aaron Drinan returned to training yesterday, but manager Paul Lambert says a couple of other unnamed players have suffered knocks in training during the week as the squad prepared for Saturday’s home game against Shrewsbury.
The Blues haven’t played a game since the 2-0 Papa John’s Trophy defeat at Crawley on Tuesday of last week when Lambert said only a handful of his senior players were involved in training.
“We only had 12,” he recalled. “Lads have started to come back to training, we’ve got a couple of injuries we’ve picked up during the week, who won’t be available just due to the situation.”
Asked whether he was prepared to say who those players might be, the Blues boss was keeping his cards close to his chest: “Not at the minute, no.”
Norwood played an hour of the 3-2 FA Cup defeat to Portsmouth but felt his hamstring - fortunately not the one which had kept him out of action during the previous few weeks - in extra-time.
But Lambert says last season’s 11-goal joint-top scorer is now back in training, along with Drinan, who suffered a thigh injury during the first half of the 2-0 opening day victory over Wigan.
“He only trained yesterday,” he said regarding Norwood. “Aaron Drinan trained yesterday, they’ve only trained one day. But we’ll have to wait and see, we really do.
“It’s one of those ones where you monitor them every day to see how they are and the slightest little thing, you’re never quite sure if they’ll finish training just because they feel certain things, so we have to wait.”
Lambert confirmed that Norwood missing training since the Pompey match was due to the problem suffered in that game rather than his earlier injury.
“Yes, that was it, and it’s understandable because James hasn’t done anything as such since we’ve come back,” he said.
“He’s worked really hard with the fitness guys but the situation we’re all in, this situation is a crazy time.”
Lambert now has all four of his frontline strikers training having at one time had only Oli Hawkins that he could call upon.
“Kayden Jackson’s only really just come back in, he’s not played too much football since the Tottenham game in pre-season,” he reflected.
“James has been out for a long time. Aaron has been out for the best part of 10 weeks or so.
“They’re still getting up to speed, they’re nowhere near match fit but the good thing is they’re back and training, that’s the good thing.”
Nevertheless, Lambert is pleased to see more of a goal threat in his squad with Jackson, Norwood and Drinan returning.
“They’re the last line of the golden egg, they’ve got to put on the finishing touch to everything,” he said.
“How well we’re playing, the front guys have to take more of a risk, be more clinical because all the good work when we’ve got with the ball has to be finished off.
“They’re the strikers, they’re the ones that have to go and put it in, and the creative guys have to go and create for them.”
He added: “I think we’re playing really well, I think we’re dominating a lot of the games, it’s just finishing off all the good work that they’re doing.
“And the good thing is that the guys recognise it themselves because we’ve had a chat about it and they know how well we’re playing and it’s just that finishing touch. If they keep doing the hard work you tend to find it’ll reward you.”
Does he feel he can start more than one of his strikers in his team? “Not in this system, the system we’re playing. Hopefully the system is going right through into the U23s, to the U18s, right down. I think it will bode well for the future of the club.”
Moving on to his other injured players, Lambert was asked when Kane Vincent-Young might be back, the right-back having been out since pre-season due to an achilles injury.
The former Colchester man’s last of his nine competitive games for the Blues was at Southend almost 13 months ago with groin operations having curtailed his 2019/20 campaign.
“He’s doing well, he’s doing really well at the minute,” Lambert said. “He’s in a lot better place than he has been in the last few months.
“He’s doing a lot better, he’s still not really training with us at all but he’s doing stuff with the physios and the medical people here and the fitness guys. That’s a bonus but he’s still not ready to come in with us.”
Asked whether he expects Vincent-Young to play at some point this season, Lambert said: “I hope so. I’d like to think so.”
Centre-half Luke Woolfenden is back with the squad having been self-isolating after coming into close contact with someone with Covid-19.
Cole Skuse and Flynn Downes are both out with knee injuries but Lambert says they’re making progress.
“Cole I think will be another couple of months, January time,” he said. “Flynn’s doing really well, I think Flynn’s got another few weeks at it. So those two will still be a little bit yet but Flynn will be back quicker than Cole.”
The Blues are without another midfielder for Saturday’s match with Andre Dozzell serving the second game of his three-match ban for his red card at Sunderland.
Lambert says it was good to take some time away from football over the last couple of weeks with Town not in action last weekend with their scheduled match at Blackpool having been shifted to the October international weekend.
“Yes, it’s good because when you have that break you don’t need to really think about football, you can take your mind off it and do other things and you just have a normal few days,” he said.
“And then you come back into reality. We’re being asked to play exactly the same number of games, or more, in a shorter season, which is tough, really tough. So when you get that break you have to take it.”
But he says football can never be too far from a manager’s mind: “You tend to try and park it somewhere. It never switches off because there’s always football, whether you’re watching it, watching Scotland games or whatever, you never really switch off.
“But that added thing of thinking about it every day, when you have a few days it’s not too bad.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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