Steven Naismith is still out with the hamstring strain that has seen him miss the last two matches and is rated only ‘touch and go’ for Tuesday’s game against Newcastle said Alex Neil when he spoke at Colney on Friday to the EDP
“Steven is not going to be ready for this weekend. It is a bit frustrating for us as we were trying to work towards the Nottingham Forest game,” he said. “In doing that we have had a little setback with it. That is disappointing for everyone.
“It is not a significant injury, but it is taking a while to clear up. Probably a bit too early at the moment to say for the Newcastle game. That would be touch and go. In terms of those who played at Wigan we seem to be in good shape physically. The lads have come through unscathed.”
“The only one who might have had a touch of fatigue the other night was Youssouf (Mulumbu) and that is solely down to a lack of game time,” said Neil. “Once we hit the 60 minutes he had given his all but his fitness levels were always going to be an issue. We all know we are quite thin in that area of the pitch. Equally after that period for 10 or 15 minutes when he looked a bit leggy he got a second wind and went right to the end.
“He had a tight thigh when he went away at the African Cup of Nations. The game he did play for them I think he was man-of-the-match. His thigh isn`t 100pc now but it is needs must. Youssouf is a hardy lad and if he has to go again on Saturday you would have no worries.
“Mitchell Dijks, possibly, another who might have felt playing two games in quick succession. He is one who has gone from very little to churning out two games on the trot. That is a lot to ask for someone who has not played in this type of football.”
Other than Mulumbu, Neil only has Ben Godfrey as an option in midfield. That’s not a terrible situation, in that Godfrey has acquitted himself well when in League Cup and EFL Trophy action. It’s better than the left back situation which only sees Steven Whittaker as cover for Dijks.
We will see how Dijks’ body reacts and I’m hoping he’ll be alright for both of the upcoming home games against Forest and Newcastle. On Tuesday night against Wigan, he was terrific and he looks to have really improved the squad.
If you haven’t seen him play yet, he’s a real unit. He likes a tackle and he takes people on, oh and he also scores goals – what’s not to like?!