Injuries update

Such is the injury jinx that has inflicted itself on Dunfermline Athletic this season manager James McPake admits that he has become superstitious in his efforts to prevent injuries happening to his players. He will not be seen walking under any ladders or opening any umbrellas inside and he has also joked that the dressing room floor has been measured for bubble wrap. 

This weekend it looks like a case of two out, two in as Aaron Comrie and Alex Jakubiak, both injured at Hampden last Friday night, join the ranks of the wounded and Ewan Otoo and Lewis McCann are expected to return. Speaking to the website, James said:-

“There is a bit of good news this week in that there will be a couple available who weren’t available last weekend. There are certain ones – Aaron and Jakubiak – who are added to the ever growing injury list. It’s a calf injury for Aaron, hamstring for Jakubiak. They could both be out for between four and six weeks.”

Aaron’s absence will be felt in a central defence that is already missing Sam Fisher, Rhys Breen and skipper Kyle Benedictus. The 32 year old club captain returned in the second half at Ayr on 30th December but after only 20 minutes he felt a recurrence of the thigh injury that had kept him out for the previous two months. Commenting on the scan that Kyle had on Tuesday, the manager said:-

“It is going to be a wee while – there is no timescale at the minute, we need to see the specialist. It’s the same specialist that Matty Todd and Ben Summers, with his first thigh injury, have seen.”

After being a major influence and close to ever present last season, Kyle started the first eight competitive games this season but picked up a foot injury at Inverness at the beginning of September.  Unfortunately his comebacks at Raith in October and at Ayr have proved to be short-lived.

Rhys Breen has a medial knee ligament injury that he picked up in the Fife derby at New Year and he will probably out for four weeks as well. “We are keeping specialists and MRI machines going, that’s for sure” added James. There was slightly better news on centre back, Sam Fisher.

“Sam Fisher has two black eyes. His nose is like a boxer’s nose but he is in good spirits. He is going to Hampden on Friday to see a concussion specialist because it is his second one. Sam has a broken nose and a couple of sore bits on his face. We will be very cautious with Sam given the nature of that injury. Even if he wasn’t needing to see that specialist at Hampden, it is something that we want to do as a football club to make sure the boy is alright. 

“We are certainly not taking any risks. For instance Ben Summers played last weekend after we had scan reports on his ankle saying that it was going to be sore and it was not going to get any worse. You can take a risk with that but we will certainly not take a risk with a head/ brain injury. We will get that checked and we will follow the protocol with the specialist. He is back to his normal self which is encouraging.”

Matty Todd is out for another month with a hamstring injury and then there are the longer term injured – midfielders Kane Ritchie-Hosler and Andrew Tod.  Kane has been given off to spend some time at home in the early stage of his rehab. He will be back at KDM Group East End Park on Monday and the manager drew on his own experiences of a shoulder injury:-

“I have had that same surgery that Kane had and it’s boring more than anything at the start because your arm is in a sling, you can’t do anything. We just thought with the period that he had mentally as well with back to back surgeries, then he goes and dislocates his shoulder that needs repaired as well. He has enjoyed his time down south over Christmas and New Year, he will come back up and we can now progress him. He will probably be another six to eight weeks.”

Andrew Tod is back working on getting himself fit. He has slight niggles but his knee is feeling good, he is running and doing a lot of fitness work. James added:-

“It is a frustrating one for Andrew, he will be looking at it in the sense, not just with the injuries, we have to remember Andrew started the first league game of the season and did very well. He came on and was an important player for us. He will be desperate to get back because he will know that there is a chance here for him. I mean this in the best way, when the squad is like this he can go and cement his place in the squad. He was at the point at the start of the season where he was fighting for a place when a lot of people were fit but still showed that he can handle that. 

“Sometimes opportunities arise for any player really – it happened last season for Kane. It took him a while to get into the team but when he did in there was no taking him back out. Andrew will be looking at that thinking he can go and do that. I would encourage him to be like that because he is a good player.”

For the visit of Airdrieonians, midfielder Ben Summers and striker Craig Wighton are likely to be in contention having struggled with injuries recently. Summers especially earned praise from his manager for battling on despite carrying an injury last week.

“Ben Summers is a lot better than what he was last week. Craig Wighton wasn’t 100 per cent last week. He’s got an ongoing issue at the minute that probably, had we had Lewis, we would’ve done what we done with Ewan Otoo, taken him out and got him ready for this week.  He’s trained. We’ve de-loaded him and he’s now back in training the last couple of days. He’ll be available.”

Cautiously James added a disclaimer saying “it’s all subject to change” given that there is still one day training and time until kick off!

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