Too Soon For Nsiala and Wilson, Harrop Not Ready to Start But Good Week's Training For Norwood
Friday, 5th Feb 2021 09:47
Centre-halves Toto Nsiala and James Wilson are not yet fit enough for a return and recent loan signing Josh Harrop not yet ready for a start, but James Norwood has trained well this week following his recent hamstring problem, Keanan Bennetts will play for the U23s this afternoon and Cole Skuse is back out on the grass.
First-team coach Matt Gill took this morning’s pre-match press conference and revealed that Nsiala, who has missed the last two games with a hamstring problem is making progress but won’t be considered for Saturday’s match with Blackpool.
“It’s a little bit too soon for Toto,” Gill said. “He’s back out on the grass with the rehab guys and fitness coaches, so not too far away but a little bit soon this weekend.”
Regarding Wilson, who has been out since October with a knee injury, he added: “Willo’s trained for a couple of days with the group this week, which is great news. Obviously too soon for him also.
“We have some friendlies next week that he may take part in to get him some minutes and to get up to speed as quickly as he can.”
Asked about Jon Nolan, who has been in and out of the squad in recent weeks, he said the midfielder is available for the Tangerines match: “Nolo is fit and obviously up for selection if needed.”
Quizzed on whether Norwood is ready to start a game having come on as a sub at Crewe last week, Gill continued: “With Nors we’ve had one step forward and two steps back now and again.
“I think that he’s trained really well this week, so it’s about building up his fitness and also his strength in those lower limbs. He’s doing really well, he’s trained really well this week James has.”
Loan signing Harrop returned to Playford Road early in the week following his period of self-isolation after his positive Covid-19 test and has impressed Gill.
“He’s looked good, obviously really disappointed that he tested positive, has been a bit of a slow start to his loan spell, but really pleased to have him back in the group this week,” he said.
“Obviously a very talented lad, exciting to see him show everyone what he can do and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before he does that.”
And the Preston man has returned to the training field just as there’s a vacancy in his preferred area of the team - advanced central midfield - with Teddy Bishop suspended for one match following last week’s red card at Crewe.
“Yes, disappointed for Ted, obviously,” Gill said. “We were lucky that we probably have a few midfielders that can fill in in Teddy’s role but we’re only missing him for one game, which is good, so he’s back on Tuesday.”
However, he ruled out Harrop starting against Blackpool, the 25-year-old last having started a game in October and his most recent involvement for the Lilywhites two sub appearances in December.
“Having seen Josh this week, it may be a little bit soon for him to start,” Gill said. “Obviously this virus affects everyone differently.
“He’s reported back well from having his 10 days in isolation and, as I say, he’s trained well this week, but I would say it’s probably too soon for him to start.”
In addition to Bishop serving his one-match ban, Kayden Jackson will miss the second of his three-game suspension on Saturday.
Town had a reserves friendly lined up on Wednesday against Brentford’s B team in which the likes of Kane Vincent-Young were due to play.
The right-back would have missed out anyway having suffered a recurrence of his injury, while the game was eventually called off in any case due to a waterlogged pitch.
“It was disappointing,” Gill said. “The training ground was pretty sodden, we’ve got maybe one lined up for next week for some boys to get some minutes in and hopefully get them up to speed as quick as possible.”
Asked about Cole Skuse, who has been out of action since pre-season and underwent knee surgery in September, Gill said: “He’s out on the grass now running.
“Really positive about his knee, so he’ll just continue to build up now with the fitness coach and hopefully we can have him back sooner rather than later and his experience will hopefully be invaluable in the run-in.”
Striker Oli Hawkins remains out also having undergone surgery to clean out his knee.
“Oli is doing okay and is still a few weeks away, of course," Gill added. “But he's progressing nicely in terms of his rehab and has had no setbacks so far.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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