IT’S been a good week for us in terms of preparation for Saturday’s game at Mansfield Town and the players have benefitted from the excellent facilities they’ve been able to use.
On Tuesday we had a great workout at West Ham United and the squad all charged around like lunatics as they were delighted to be able to finally train on some grass!
Yesterday we used the playfootball.net centre at the Chase and that’s also a superb facility which we’re very grateful to be able to use.
But you can only go on that kind of 3G surface so many times before it starts to cause problems for some of our players.
We have one or two players with injury concerns and the problems they have start to flare up if they stay out on the 3G for too long.
Some of the older players, who are more traditional in their thinking, also don’t really like it.
But it’s certainly been a huge help for us going there.
I’m now hoping that we can find another big space so I can get some work in with our back four ahead of the Mansfield match, and we do have real competition for places there again now.
Providing Luke Prosser comes through the operation that he’s having today with no problems then I’ll have to select between him, Adam Thompson and Mark Phillips, which will be quite difficult.
If it wasn’t for the embargo we've had in place here I would ideally like to have that competition for all the positions in our team because these are the kind of selection headaches you want.
WE'LL TAKE OUR TIME WITH LUKE O'NEILL
WE’RE being sensible with Luke O’Neill’s thigh injury at the moment and we’re making sure we don’t rush him back.
If we put him on the pitch too early then we run the risk of him suffering a setback and being out for even longer, which we certainly don’t want to happen.
I’ve spoken to Luke about extending his loan until the end of the season and I’ll be talking to [Burnley manager] Sean Dyche too.
I’m hoping the fact they managed to keep hold of Keiran Trippier will help our cause, because the ideal scenario is for us to get Luke back fit and then keep him here with us until the end of the season.
He looked very good on his debut before suffering the injury and we’re keen to see him back in action again.
Julian Bennet remains our only other injury and he’s making good progress too.
He’s back running and is certainly ahead of schedule, so hopefully he can keep that going because he’s very keen to try to earn a new deal here.
FULL COLUMN IN THURSDAY'S ECHO