Fraser fit to start as Cook discusses Edmundson and Nolan injury timeframes
- Credit: ITFC
New signing Scott Fraser will be fit to start this weekend’s season-opening clash with Morecambe.
The midfielder, signed from MK Dons this summer, missed Town’s final pre-season friendly with a groin problem, but manager Paul Cook has revealed the creative midfielder is ready to start.
“Scott will start tomorrow,” Cook said. “One hundred per cent Scott Fraser will be in the team.
“Again, probably a little bit off where we’d like him to be having missed a lot of pre-season now due to injuries and transfers etc, but great quality, fantastic quality and a fantastically talented player.
“A very clever player with assisting set pieces and goals, penalties and one of the ones that I’m very excited to see and to grow. That’s the big message to our supporters, let’s watch our players grow together.”
Absent, though, is defender George Edmundson, who has yet to feature since signing from Rangers.
Cook doesn’t expect him to be sidelined for too long, though: “I don’t want to put timeframes on things in case I get them wrong,” the Town boss said. “There are protocols around fitness now at the club, lads being ready to play, which is huge. We don’t want to take risks with any of our players.
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“Going into Saturday’s game, we have one or two injury problems around the camp, which is part and parcel of football.
“George is training really well at the minute, he looks very, very strong. We do feel he’s going to be a major asset to the club and hopefully we can get him on the pitch.
“We’re talking about sooner rather than later, that’s for sure. We’re not talking about a long-term injury here, we’re talking about shorter term for sure, so let’s see when he can be back.”
Midfielder Jon Nolan will also be missing, having missed the entirety of pre-season with a calf problem.
“He’s had a really tough pre-season now,” Cook said of Nolan. “He did his calf on the first day and unfortunately for Jon he’s now missed the whole of pre-season, which as you can imagine is a massive blow for him.
“These lads don’t want to be injured, they don’t want to not be fit. In my time here now, I haven’t seen Jon Nolan train.
“I’ve been here nearly six months now, it was March, I came in for 15 or 16 games at the end of the season possibly, maybe not that many, but I haven’t seen Jon.
“The Jon Nolan I remember was at Shrewsbury Town as a midfielder that was probably one of the best midfielders in the division. It’s been three years since I’ve seen Jon now.
“Jon will be a bit down about the injuries, he needs to pick himself up, get back fit and get back playing.”
Cook is hopeful the Blues investment in sports science, which has seen Andy Rolls head up a growing ‘performance team’ will impact the number of injuries suffered this season. He knows you can never completely irradicate injuries from the game, though.
“It’s football,” Cook said. Even if you look at Liverpool with the injuries they had with (Virgil) Van Dijk, (Joel) Matip and (Joe) Gomez at the back, it can happen.
“There’s no magic to this game where we can go out and train and all come back in not injured. It’s a contact sport.
“I think the attention to detail at the club now I would imagine is at a level it’s never been at, so hopefully that can support and keep the injuries away.
“I’m not sure it will ever completely kill injuries off because that can’t happen, but certainly the lads the highest professionalism in that field that we can get.
“Returning to training, returning to playing, being fit to play, they’re all massive parts of the game now. I think we’re on board with everything we’re trying to do.”