Glyn Hodges said that he will have welcome selection headaches for a busy spell of matches coming up, starting with the visit of Accrington Stanley on Saturday.
Our manager expects Nesta Guinness-Walker and Paul Osew to recover from minor injuries and midfielder Jack Rudoni has made a positive impression back in full training, though this weekend may come too soon for him. Glyn also updated us on the fitness of Ollie Palmer, who is being nursed back gradually after a groin operation.
"Nesta has got a slight hamstring injury and Paul Osew has a slightly sore hip, but I am hoping they will be fit for training tomorrow, said Glyn. “We have ‘Rudi’ back with the group and he’s a fit boy anyway, but we will try to see if we can fit a game in for him before he’s back in the mix. ‘Rudi’ is probably one of those that you could throw straight in though because he’s such a fit boy.
“Ollie is getting back slowly. Things happen after surgery where you over-compensate and you have twinges here and there. It’s been a long time without him getting the care he needed before and after the surgery, so we have to be patient. He’s keen to be involved in every game, but we are just making sure he is fit and 100 per cent ready to make an impact.
“We’ve had two games in the EFL Trophy and we’ve put together a report of September’s schedule: everyone has had minutes and they are up to speed. That’s the main thing because with all the games coming up we are going to need everybody raring to go. I’ve got a problem selecting the team and I may have to leave people out that don’t deserve to be left out, but that’s football and the way it’s going to be.”
Following the first league victory of the season at Fleetwood, Glyn has been very encouraged by the week so far. That victory up in Lancashire came after a preparation that included initiation songs by several of the new faces – and it certainly didn't do any harm on the pitch! Indeed, Alex Woodyard said it was the best overnight trip he had enjoyed in his career so far.
"There was no alcohol involved, I hope people realise that! We had the initiation ceremony and the boys singing for their supper! Normally the staff go in there, but I said we should stay away from it. I think it’s important for them to build their own relationships and that bit of camaraderie. They had their own in-house entertainment and I think it went down well. There were a few sore stomachs from all the laughing! When you are a new member in the building you have to go up and sing. The time for it is an overnight stay, and I think there are still a few to do it.
“It’s been great (spirit in the camp). Even when you go back to the disappointment of the Plymouth game we ironed a few things out afterwards and then we went onto win in the EFL Trophy and at Fleetwood. Collectively, everyone played their part. This morning and all week it has been tremendous. They were bright in training today, so I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Glyn has plenty of admiration for Saturday’s opponents Accrington Stanley, a club that continues to punch above its weight in League One.
"I was at Blackburn in the early 2000s and we were going to use Accrington for our Under-23 home fixtures. I used to go there so I am well aware of Accrington and where they have come from. John Coleman and his staff have signed new contracts, so they’ve been rewarded with that because they’ve done a great job. They always get a good squad and they do well in the loan markets. There are no easy games and it will be another tough one for us.
"They can mix it up and they have a few strings to their bow. They have a lot of threats and we did work today on what they are going to throw at us. I am more concerned though, building up to tomorrow’s session, about how we are going to go about our business.”