Gaffer updates on Vaughan, Truslove and more…
By Matty Paddock - 21/09/2017
Posted 6 months ago
HARRIERS have missed the contribution of game-changer Liam Truslove as the midfielder recovers from a knee injury, according to boss John Eustace.
The former Birmingham City youngster has been a key part of the squad since his arrival last summer.
His all-action performances, particularly from the bench, were a big part of the team’s success last season.
But Truslove has featured just twice this season – and not at all since August – after suffering the injury.
And his absence has been keenly felt.
“He has been a massive miss to us,” admitted Eustace.
“Whenever we have needed a goal or to change the game a little bit, he has always been the one we’ve called on.
“…it’s important we get it right as he’s had quite a bad knee problem.” John Eustace on Liam Truslove
“You can see when he is not in the squad that we miss that quality.
“It’s something that a lot of players at this level can’t produce.”
There’s a comeback in sight for Truslove, and it’s hoped he’ll be fit enough to feature within a couple of months.
Of his proposed return time, the gaffer added: “Hopefully [it will be] during November, but it’s important we get it right as he’s had quite a bad knee problem.
“That’s all I’m bothered about.
“As long as, once he’s back, he’s the Trussy we all know and the player who can change games for us, that’s all that matters.”
Defender Lee Vaughan in a similar situation.
His absence has been considerably longer of course – he suffered a broken leg playing for National League side Tranmere Rovers at the back end of last season.
A painstaking recovery is going well, but it’s evidently and understandably a long process for the full-back who is itching to be back in action.
It’s also hoped that he’ll be back in a Harriers shirt before we’re tucking into the advent calendars, but the boss was at pains to point out once again that the Aggborough favourite’s return will not be unnecessarily escalated.
“He is going to be vital to us, especially in the second half of the season, with his quality and his experience,” he went on to say.
“But we are definitely not going to rush him back as we can’t afford for him to break down – it’s so important he gets that leg right.
“He will know when he’s ready and we’ll know, and as soon as that’s the case he’ll be back in.”
“He is going to be vital to us, especially in the second half of the season…” Eustace on Lee Vaughan
Vaughan’s rehab is at least due to reach a crucial stage as he prepares to head back to the training ground for some very light work.
Although it’s far from being at the centre of the thrust and hustle of full-contact training, it’ll be a big relief for the experienced former Cheltenham man to get his boots back on.
“That will give him a big boost, but it will give the rest of the lads a big boost as well,” Eustace continued.
“To have someone like him in the group is exciting and that’s great for the young boys.”
It has been a remarkable start to the season on the injury front.
Aside from Truslove and Vaughan, the reds confirmed another absentee on Thursday with the news that Will Longbottom is to return to parent club Doncaster Rovers after damaging ankle ligaments.
In addition, a packed schedule of more than ten games in the first four weeks of the term pushing the squad to the limit.
That’s proved a difficult situation to manage, given the likes of Joel Taylor, Dan Bradley and Elton Ngwatala among plenty more, joined the squad without the advantage of a full pre-season training programme.
Striker Joe Ironside (hamstring) has also had to play through an injury that just hadn’t had time to heal, leaving the squad seriously depleted at times.
….it is very important that the squad is injury-free…” Boss Eustace
It’s hoped that at least some of the absentees from recent weeks will return shortly, with the likes of James McQuilkin (ankle) rated 50-50 to feature in this weekend’s home tie with Blyth Spartans at Aggborough.
So while the eased schedule of weekend-only league matches for the next little while might appear to present Harriers with more time on the training ground, Eustace rightly points out that recovery still remains the priority for now.
“With the injuries we’ve had, the lads haven’t had time to rest and recover, and to do some really good work in rehab,” he explained.
“Four or five of the lads have been playing injured which is why they’ve been coming in and out of the side.
“What’s important is for them to get five or six days’ rest on it, and to get them right.
“Yes, I want to do more work with the team on the training field but it is very important that the squad is injury-free, and that they can play injury-free as well.
“It has been very difficult but, hopefully, as the season goes on, these lads will get stronger and better and we can reap the rewards of that.”