Ipswich Town injury update ahead of Carabao Cup clash with Fulham

Ipswich Town striker James Norwood played 45 minutes against Wigan on Sunday. Photo: PA

Ipswich Town striker James Norwood played 45 minutes against Wigan on Sunday. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town assistant manager Stuart Taylor has provided an extensive injury update ahead of tomorrow night’s Carabao Cup second round clash with Fulham at Portman Road (7pm).

Including the pre-season schedule, Town are set to play their seventh game in 25 days. And there’s a long trip to Bristol Rovers coming up on Saturday.

“There are a lot of tired bodies and we’ve got a lot of knocks,” said Taylor. “Some that we’re nursing and some that we’re waiting for feedback on. We’re hoping that they’re not going to be too bad. It’s been a tough programme up until now. We’re just going to wait and see what tomorrow brings, but the gaffer might have to be a little bit careful.

“I was very determined to come into this interview and not mention the four or five months that we were off for, but it is something that every club is having to take into consideration.

“I think there’s been something like a 22% rise in injuries at every club since football has come back. That’s something we are very conscious of. We have picked up injuries, but I don’t think there’s anything more we could have done or changed to have prevented that.

“We look at the data, we speak to the lads and get honest feedback from them about how they are feeling. This week is going to be exceptionally difficult in terms of it being three games in six days, rather than three games in seven days. Those extra 24 hours do make a massive difference in terms of recovery and preparation for games.

“We have got quite a few injuries though and some lads are going to have to go again. Some lads won’t be able to go again. We have to keep in mind that we are very, very close to a travel to an away game (at Bristol Rovers) on Saturday which is going to be a massive game for us.”

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On striker Aaron Drinan, who withdrawn at half-time of Sunday’s win against Wigan with a thigh strain, Taylor said: “We’re just waiting for confirmation back on Aaron. It does look like he’s going to be struggling for the game on Wednesday, I’ve got to say that.”

James Norwood, who underwent groin surgery back in February, replaced Drinan in that game. Asked how close the front man was to starting a game, Taylor replied: “He’s not too far away. He’s had a long time out, just short of a year really when you look at it. We have to be careful, build players up and make sure we don’t bring them back too soon.

“He showed how desperate he is to play on Sunday when he came on with his work ethic. He really out a shift in and played his part in the second goal.

“Like all the other lads coming back from long-terms injuries we have to approach it right and be careful that we don’t do too much too soon.

“He’s a professional footballer, looked after himself the right way and we will push him as much as we can. He pushes himself anyway, so he doesn’t really need that extra push from us.

“He’s not too far away from being able to start game. It’s a different question about whether he’ll be able to last 90 minutes. Will we get more out of him starting or will we get more out of him coming off the bench? There are different factors to look at.”

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Another striker option is Oli Hawkins, the target man having had little more than an hour of game-time so far since arriving on August 17.

“He came with a little kind of foot problem,” said Taylor. “It wasn’t an issue, we just managed it. We’ve always tried to have him involved in games. He’s been on the bench in two of the games and not come on. That was more or less a tactical one in terms of who would be the most suited type to come on in those games and I think that’s been the right decision.

“Oli is a fantastic guy to have about the training ground and he’s a real handful. He’s something that we needed and he’ll be a very good addition. It won’t be long until he’s back on the pitch again.”

Centre-back Luke Woolfenden missed Sunday’s game with a ‘slight groin tweak’. Providing an update on him, Taylor said: “He’s a day closer to being back and certainly looks in a better position than Saturday.”

On the longer-term absences of Kane Vincent-Young (Achilles), Cole Skuse (knee) and Kayden Jackson (groin), Taylor said: “They are coming along okay. Obviously we’d like ot to be quicker than what it is, but sometimes that happens.

“Kane is just changing his rehab programme a little bit and we’ll hopefully see a positive in hat over the next couple of days.

“Cole is finding his a little bit tough, so we’ll reassess him in the next couple of days.

“Kayden is progressing along fine. He’s been on the grass for a couple of days now and can hopefully be involved in training over the next day or two.”

Jack Lankester missed Sunday’s game after suffering a concussion in training. Taylor said: “Obviously with concussion you have to be careful. The rule is that as soon as the symptoms clear up he has to go four days before he can be back involved.

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“It was actually nothing, he just turned into Judgey’s shoulder. The way he fell down was bizarre. The good news is now he’s totally fine and on the mend.

“I really feel for him because he was absolutely flying. He brings an incredible quality and a freshness, but we can’t expect too much of him because he’s a young kid who has been out for near enough two years. That’s a long, long time.”

Asked if veteran full-back Luke Chambers and Stephen Ward could go again, Taylor said: “They are experienced lads. Look at Wardy, he was renowned for churning games out at Burnley no problem. Chambo is from the same ilk. They might be 34/35, but they are running about like 12 year olds. That’s a great lesson for the younger ones about application, desire and hunger.

“Look at the Bristol Rovers game. Wardy played an attacking pass into the box, it got cut out and then he was back defending a cross at the other end. That’s the mentality, professionalism and standards he’s got and Chambo’s no different.”

And what about Teddy Bishop and Andre Dozzell, two players who are not used to playing games in quick succession, can they go again?

“Part of their development now is to be able to go and churn out games, which is something they’ve not done for one reason or another,” said Taylor. “They’ve had injuries in the past, but hopefully that’s all behind them now and they can get stronger every single week and become more resilient.

“They are quality players and it’s about trying to make sure you keep your quality players available to play.”

Lastly, providing an update on long-term absentee Tristan Nydam (ankle), Taylor said: “Tristan’s rehab has been positive, he’s come on leaps and bounds, but he’s still a wee bit away from playing games.”

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