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Taylor: Getting Back to Near Enough a Full Squad
Friday, 8th Jan 2021 11:06

Assistant boss Stuart Taylor says the Blues are “getting back to near enough a full squad” with Town’s injured players having used the Covid-19-enforced Christmas break to get close to returning to action.

Taylor was standing in for manager Paul Lambert at this morning’s press conference, the Blues boss having been one of those who tested positive for Covid over the holiday period. Positive tests at Town and their opposition have meant that the Blues’ last four matches have been postponed.

“Having that sidetrack of the Covid thing, it’s given the injured players more time to get back fit without missing any games, which has been really important for is because they’re all key members and important players in the team,” Taylor said.

“Those fixtures have now been put back and hopefully we can keep our full squad fit for all those games because the schedule is incredible.

“I think we’ve got something like 18 games in two months, which is unheard of and it’s really demanding and it’s something we need the squad for to go into all those games.”

Prior to Christmas Town had a lengthy injury list including many of their more senior players. James Norwood (hamstring), Gwion Edwards (hamstring), Teddy Bishop (ankle), James Wilson, Flynn Downes, Cole Skuse (all knee), Jon Nolan (calf) and Keanan Bennetts (groin), while Kane Vincent-Young (achilles), Freddie Sears (hamstring) and Tristan Nydam (ankle) were making progress towards their returns.

“Norwood, he’s been back training, he’s taken a couple of training sessions this week,” Taylor said. “Flynn Downes has done every training day this week bar one, which was part of his rehab programme and he was never going to be doing that day.

“It’s been a positive in that sense. Those two players being back has given a lift in the dressing room. Flynn’s character and the attributes that he’s got and can bring to the team along with Nors, it’s given the lads a lift.

“Freddie is definitely back. he was back earlier than Flynn and Nors, so he was almost in the group of being in contention for Fleetwood and being in contention for Swindon anyway. Freddie has come in, and he’s actually looked like he’s never been out, so that’s been a positive.

“Just across the pitch, we’ve got Kane and Gwion and Bishop and Nolan, they’re all working hard on the side with Walshy [sports therapist Tom Walsh], so they’re not too far away, hopefully.

“Up to now, their programme has been good this week and they’ve had all good news and hopefully that will be the same today and tomorrow for their programme.

“Fingers crossed with a bit of luck we’ll have them available with the training squad on Monday. We’re getting back to near enough a full squad now.

“Cole’s coming along fine, along with James Wilson but I would say they’re still a wee bit away from being on the grass.”

Winger Bennetts is another that’s not too far from a return to action: “Keanan is coming into that category along with Kane, Gwion, Bishop and Nolo where that five are over there training on that pitch at the side of us, so they’re on the grass which is fantastic to see, and there’s a great hope that they’ll be back training with us come Monday.”

He says the impending return of so many senior players is a big boost going into 28 games in four months: “Without a doubt. I mean everybody knows the qualities and importance of each individual, but they all fit into the group very well.

“The team needs them, and we’ve always seen the positives from them. I mean Keanan before he got injured in the Burton game he looked really lively, he was dangerous every time he got on the ball he was positive and confident, and hence he got his goal.

“So that injury came at a terrible time for him and for us because he really was flying with confidence and I’m sure he’ll pick up where he left off.

“It’ll be great to have Kane back and about things with the performances he was churning out before his injury but that was way back over a year ago now, and we’re going to have to be patient with him and take time and making sure, because he came back a couple of weeks ago and he just felt it a little bit hence the reason why he came back out again.

“But Gwion and Nolo, we know the importance of them all so it will be great to have them back about it, especially going into the fixture list that we’ve got coming up.

“The more players that are available for selection, the better and, dare I say it, if there needs to be a little bit of rotating in that squad I don’t know because I’m not the manager, but certainly I believe that’s something that we need to look at because to ask lads to go and play Saturday-Tuesday for eight weeks back-to-back.

“You know exactly what it’s like to go and do it two weeks back-to-back let alone doing it after eight, so we definitely need to have everybody fit and available and ready to go.”

In addition to the players back from injury, midfielder Idris El Mizouni has been recalled from his loan spell at Cambridge United with the Blues likely to need their full squad in a very busy second half of the season.

“Everybody comes into contention, even the kids that have come up previously,” Taylor added. “We try and keep them in and about the squad, training and giving them that experience.

“Idris has come back from his loan spell, the manager will have a look at him over the next two, three, four weeks and see what’s right for his development, along with a couple of other lads.

“But it is important that we keep everybody fit because it’s going to be a really gruelling fixture list over the next couple of months.”

He says there are no plans to field any of the players on the way back from injury in the U23s friendly against Crystal Palace at Playford Road on Saturday afternoon.

“As it stands at this moment in time, none of the injured lads are going to play in that game.”

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smellmycheese added 11:21 - Jan 8
Basically though in summary nobody is ready to return to the team yet

el_nino added 11:24 - Jan 8
Nice to get an update on players as we generally don’t. Our big squad could really help us in the coming months.

unknown100 added 11:32 - Jan 8
One thing I’m a little concerned about is (even though I actually think chambers has done a pretty solid job at right back) Kane V-Y is not going to get the game time we all want because he isn’t going to drop chambers simply, he’s first name on that team sheet and he’s the captain... i also hope that it means he doesn’t put him centre back!

And don’t get me started on sears 😢

grow_our_own added 11:43 - Jan 8
Good news. If Downes is near match fit, put him in the team now. We p!ssed around earlier in the season, inexplicably excluded him, and it was detrimental to the team and Downes. He is arguably our best player, so worthy of persevering with for a few games while he gets up to speed.

Linkboy13 added 11:47 - Jan 8
Not convinced this squad is strong enough to get us out of this league as was the case last season. We badly need a Matt Holland type box too box midfielder. Flynn Downes is a talented player who i prefer to see in a more attacking role as he tends to lose discipline or get booked when it gets physical. Our dealings in the transfer market have been pretty poor. I see the club are looking at more creative players what good is this when we haven't got the ball against the good sides in this league.

Nobbysnuts added 12:04 - Jan 8
None of the players mentioned above will be involved tomorrow..so it will be the same rubbish as usual..unfortunately the only one who might be fit is the serial under performing waste of space sears...Good god.....

blues1 added 12:07 - Jan 8
Linkboy13. What are you on about? We have the ball more than any other team, regardless of whether they're good sides or not. What we are missing, and everyone has moaned about, is that we dont have a player who can create chances for the strikers. We are now looking to bring that kind of player in, and you criticise that? Ridiculous, but typical of some of our fans.

Suffolkboy added 12:12 - Jan 8
Measured and positive comments from ST : simply cannot fault a word he says .Of course it’d be wonderful to have dramatically uplifting news ,but in reality none of us could truly expect a rabbit out of the hat !
With our long term injured list beginning to look like shortening let’s hope the returnees can display great results , stamina and enthusiasm to make us the side and team we well deserve to be !
Best of luck to the lads. : every supporter will be watching keenly !

dirtydingusmagee added 12:15 - Jan 8
its good to hear some players are on mend but these players are never fit long, and i dont see them lasting many games, especially now the games are going to pile up.KVY has been out over a year and i cant see him coming back any time soon. I wish them all luck on recovery ,but im not going to get carried away and expect much to change.

WhittonBoy added 12:57 - Jan 8
KVY Chambo Woolfy Ward
Downes Bish
Edwards Jackson


ThaiBlue added 12:57 - Jan 8
Pigs mite fly,believe this when i see these players back.

DaGremloid added 13:00 - Jan 8
So, by my reckoning, having deliberately removed ourselves from 3 cup competitions so we can concentrate on the league; had a nice, elongated Christmas break, during which the squad has neared returning to full fitness; we should now win every game and storm out of this league...

OwainG1992 added 13:19 - Jan 8
Very good news.

dirtydingusmagee added 14:32 - Jan 8
The way things are going with covid [worse than last year] i dont see the season being completed , regardless to vaccine.

Bert added 14:48 - Jan 8
My glass is half full reading what is mainly positive news about those coming back and very nearly back. The glass half full detractors write as if they are willing Town to have unfit players. Incredible for a fans site. We know that there will be more injuries as other teams will have as well so let's hope our form picks up as other teams struggle. This division is there for the taking with a good wind... and decent refs !

arc added 15:29 - Jan 8
KVY is maybe almost ready to return to training, but the last time he did that he "felt it a bit" and had to step back for two weeks. And that is supposed to be good news. His injury is one of the strangest stories I can remember—what has happened to him?? It'll be 18 months out by the time he's back—if he ever comes back.

Linkboy13 added 16:17 - Jan 9
Blues 1 what you on about we are completely dominated by the better teams in this league you numpty.

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