Edwards and Thomas to Be Assessed Ahead of Hull Trip
Monday, 22nd Feb 2021 09:59
First-team coach Matt Gill is hopeful wide men Gwion Edwards and Luke Thomas will be OK to make the trip to Hull for tomorrow’s game against the Tigers, who are third in League One.
Edwards suffered a knock in the game away against his former club Peterborough and has missed the last two matches, while Thomas similarly limped off in last Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Northampton.
Gill, who again took the pre-match press conference with no player put up to speak to the press, says there’s a chance both could be involved but with the Welshman having the better chance of being included.
“I think there is, they’re both going to get assessed this morning,” he said. “Gwion’s probably more likely that Luke but they’re both going to get looked at today, and hopefully they can be part of it.”
Gill admits that Edwards, still Town’s joint-top scorer with five goals alongside Jon Nolan, was a miss while he’s been out of the side having made a strong start to the campaign.
“He started the season really well Gwion, he has been a big miss and if we can have him back in and around it, it can only strengthen us,” he said.
Hull have Mallik Wilks playing in a similar role and having stayed fit has now scored 17 goals in all competitions. Is that what Town have been missing since Edwards’s bright start to the campaign, consistent goals from those wide positions?
“I think that having a fully fit and firing front three, front four, whatever you want to call it, obviously helps,” Gill reflected.
“Hull have been pretty similar all year playing with a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 and we’re no different. If you’re missing attacking players, it hurts you a little bit, so it’s good to have him in and around it.”
Gill says the players who were involved Saturday will be looked at this morning but he wasn’t aware of any significant problems from the 0-0 draw with Oxford.
“I think pretty much everyone’s come through unscathed,” he said. “Obviously there’ll be a few aches and pains this morning that we will assess, but nothing too drastic to report, which is good news.”
Regarding the prospect of James Wilson, Toto Nsiala and Keanan Bennetts, who made their returns to the side after spells out on Saturday, being involved again on Tuesday, Gill said: “We’ll assess all those boys this morning. I’d imagine after their performances they’ll be pretty keen just to get back out there again.
“I think that competition for places provides that. All those boys are desperate to try and remain in the team and put in positive performances like they did at the weekend.”
Asked whether it was tempting to stick with the same XI at Hull after the improved weekend display, Gill said: “It’s obviously tempting. Like I said earlier, we need to assess how the lads feel physically today.
“We’ll train and recover with some of them today before travelling up to Hull. Those lads that played on Saturday will be desperate to play again.”
Gill explained why central defensive pairing Luke Woolfenden and Mark McGuinness were left out of the 18 at the weekend as Nsiala and Wilson came back into the side.
“Obviously you pick your bench regarding the XI you’ve got, you pick your bench for covering that,” he said.
“I think the ability of Chambo to fill in at centre-half gives you a bit more flexibility on the bench, that’s the only reason those two weren’t involved at the weekend.
“They’ve obviously played a lot of football and were involved in a couple of clean sheets themselves. Nothing too untoward in that, just that we pick a bench to cover what we need on the pitch.”
Gill confirmed that midfield Nolan and striker Kayden Jackson wouldn’t be involved and continue to train with the U23s.
“Obviously they’re not training with the group at the moment, they won’t be in the squad for tomorrow,” he said.
Also missing will be Flynn Downes, who is serving the second and final game of his suspension.
Gill revealed that veteran midfielder Cole Skuse continues to make good progress.
“Skusey has been out on the grass for a while and will return to training soon,” he said. “I think he's joining in for part of the session today which is great news for him and us.”
Town will travel up to Hull today, admitting that it’s not normal making away trips at present with the players spread across two coaches and each having a single room at their hotel, which on occasions such as at Shrewsbury recently have opened especially for the squad.
“We’re going up today, we’ll train this morning and then leave after lunch, get ourselves up there and then prepare for the game,” he said.
“It is [a bit strange at the moment], we’ve been taking a couple of coaches to try and keep that social distancing and then you get to hotels which are pretty much ghost towns really. No one’s in them, pretty quiet. It is strange but it’s something we have to deal with at the moment.
“The lads have been really professional as far as that’s concerned and it’s just about preparing for the game correctly and we feel that’s the right way.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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