The optimism surrounding Saturday`s 5-1 win over Forest was dampened a little on Monday afternoon by Alex Neil at his usual Colney pre-match presser.
Neil revealed that “three to four” of his first XI are struggling with knocks and will face a battle to be fit for Tuesday night`s visit of league leaders, Newcastle United.
Ivo Pinto was subbed off after just over an hour against Forest with an injury and Mitchell Dijks came off around 70 minutes, although he didn`t seem to be moving with difficulty, unlike Pinto.
Alex Tettey has now served his two match suspension and will no doubt have benefited from his enforced rest. Whether Neil opts to throw him back into the fray is a different matter, after Youssouf Mulumbu hasn`t done himself any harm with his performances against Wigan and Forest.
This is what the City boss told the EDP
‘We have quite a few last minute shouts. We have a couple of bumps and bruises, a couple of niggles, a couple trying to come back from being out and there are going to be some late calls,” said Neil.
‘When I say a few I mean three or more we are waiting to see how they are. We have had a high volume of games and the players are feeling the effects of that. It is going to be a late call on a number of players. With the games in such close proximity the amount of work we would do physically between games would be limited anyway. It is about recovery and getting them refreshed. The actual work process between games is very little so from that point of view it is not a problem.”
The impressive performances of Alex Pritchard and Wes Hoolahan against Forest, also gave Neil food for thought. The two rarely play together but helped City tear Saturday`s opponents apart, something Neil was happy to give them credit for.
‘You need balance in your team. The Forest game suited the two of them,” he said.
“The easiest part is putting them in. Then they have to play well, which is all credit to them. I laid the gauntlet down before the weekend`s game, the same as when we played the two strikers at Wigan. I am keen to play both together more often. That was an opportunity to show me it can work and play together in the same team. Show me you can do the business, but it has to be the right game for them to do it.
“Alex (Tettey) is available, but Youssouf Mulumbu has done really well. He didn`t do a lot at the African Nations because he had this thigh issue. He has persevered with that since coming back to us because it was needs must. He has performed very well.”
Steven Naismith is again unlikely to feature while Graham Dorrans and Louis Thompson remain sidelined.