Phil Parkinson updated us on the latest injury news, transfer talks and the shape of the squad ahead of this weekend’s clash at home to Darren Ferguson’s Peterborough United. The gaffer is confident going into the second League 1 fixture at the Stadium of Light this season when the Lads take on The Posh this Saturday.
Parky’s Injury Update
“Morgan (Feeney) unfortunately has picked up quite a serious problem with his hamstring, he overstretched for a ball in Monday’s U23 game, and he’s going to see a surgeon, so that’s a big blow for him and for us. I felt like he was really progressing well, so we feel for Morgan. It isn’t related to the hamstring problem he had on loan at Tranmere last season, but it is a similar injury to the one that Elliot (Embleton) had. It's the attachment high up on his hamstring so that's why we are going to have to send him to see a surgeon. Elliot was out for five or six months in all because he had various setbacks, but our physio Pete Brand anticipates that Morgan could be out for about four months. We may possibly need further cover in his position moving forward, yes. I felt with Morgan, he had the potential to be a very good understudy to Bailey (Wright) - he’s younger, but has a lot of the same characteristics. I could see that in him, but unfortunately it looks like a bad injury. Max (Power) is getting better by the day. He’ll be a close call for the weekend - if he doesn't make the weekend, he’ll train on Monday and Tuesday next week, it’s not a serious injury, so we’ll see. He hasn't trained today, but we’ll see how he is tomorrow morning. Embo (Elliot Embleton) has trained this week, which is good news for us He won’t be featuring at the weekend - he needs to get some fitness minutes in first before he comes back in, but it’s good to see him back out there.”
PP on COVID
“You look at it, and we were hoping for 11,000 fans to come back in October, when people are in pubs and restaurants… social distancing can definitely be achieved in a 48,000 seater stadium with 11,000 fans in. I feel that clubs understood the important of following the guidelines and were well-equipped to achieve those, so it is a frustration for us, all clubs and the supporters. But we know there’s a bigger picture at the moment and we can only do what we can under the government guidelines. Football is important for the country, I think it’s important that we keep football going and going back into the lockdown when football came back onto the TV screens; it gave everyone a huge lift. Not everybody loves football, but a lot of the country does, so I think everything has to be done to be able to carry on in the safest possible way we can, looking after the players and all the staff involved. But it’s going to be tough with the money side of it. Lower league clubs in particular rely on the revenue from supporters coming into the ground, so something will have to be done in terms of a bailout or some scenario from the Premier League or the government to help that happen. When that announcement was made, everyone of course takes a deep breath, There's one or two that we're speaking to and we put things on hold for a couple of days just to take stock of the situation. I think everyone has done the same, every agent I've spoken to said they had the same response from all the managers. It is one of those where the picture constantly changes and you've got to adapt to that. The club have other things to consider as well, with people still on furlough etc, but equally, the owner of the club wants us to have us the strongest possible squad out on the pitch. We want to give the area a lift by winning games and getting up near the top of the table. The better players we've got, and the better competition we've got, gives us the chance to do that. What we can spend is pretty much set in stone anyway with the salary cap, so it's just about being realistic, weighing everything up, which we're trying to do."
Parkinson on the Squad
"Denver's an improving player, There is more to come from and he knows that himself. He's got the shirt and if we bring someone else in, then it's got to be someone who is good enough to play in the team. At the moment, it's Denver's shirt and he is relishing that. Without a doubt we've worked on his defensive game, as to be a top player, you've got to be able to do everything. There were ingredients in Denver's game that he needed to improve on, and I feel he came back like a man after the lockdown and he's shown that in his performances. There are still areas that we want him to get better at, but every day in training his levels are right up there. Quite often he'll end up against Luke O'Nien in training, in a practice game or an 8v8, and those two push each other which is good to see. If you look at those two, they have the athleticism to wear the opposition wing-backs down. Their physical stats back that up; they are really top end, what they produced at the weekend and you could see as the game wore on how difficult they were for the opposition players. It's that kind of relentlessness we need from individuals and from the team as a collective. He's one of our own players who’s come up from the academy, so we want him to do well and at the moment, he's got the shirt. He's got to keep it now."
The Boss’ Transfer Update
The last I heard was that Benji (Kimpioka) was close to agreeing his contract; it’s the same contract which has been on the table for a long time. I’m not sure whether that’s been finalised in the last couple of days, but if it is, then he comes back and gets himself fit, and let’s see if he can push himself into the reckoning. There’s no question that he will be given a chance. It’s frustrating that he’s a bit behind. He’s been working on his fitness back in Sweden, although until we get him over here, we won’t really be able to see where he is.”