Though the January transfer window is open and with at least seven players out injured, James McPake maintains that until after tomorrow night’s cinch Championship match at Hampden, his full focus is on that.
“We will go there with the players that we have got available and that will more likely remain the case with that squad. If one or two can come into it as injuries free up great. If not we will go to Hampden and pick eleven players with a game plan to go out and try and get a positive result. Then over the weekend we will continue to keep working in time for next week.”
James gave an update on his injuries:-
“He’s got multiple fractures to his nose and seven or eight stitches were required just below his eye. In terms of that, we’re lucky. There’s nothing in it at all. It’s good striker player – I think it’s Vaughan or Hamilton and then Chris Hamilton as well. It’s one of those really unfortunate incidents. I think the fact that he had the concussion, he was only back a week after the initial concussion, albeit, it was a couple of weeks ago. That’s two concussions now in the space of three weeks, so we just need to be very careful with that. He seems ok., he’s comfortable enough, he’s speaking away. We just have to be very careful with it.”
“You find yourself in these situations, even when they are seen as really unlucky injuries, or injuries you can’t plan for, you always get to a point where you look. It’s the same when you’re losing games or you don’t look as sharp on a Saturday. The first thing you go back and check is the training – the volume, the intensity. Are we doing enough of this? Are we doing too much with that? We’ve done that with all these injuries and there are a lot of them.
“Kane Ritchie-Hosler has had three that wouldn’t have mattered had he done nothing the day before or trained for six weeks. You fall on your shoulder and it’s going to go out, it’s just unlucky. There’s a couple that we’re looking at and saying ‘we need to get these people right’, get the players back.
“Bear in mind he goes on (against Ayr) and had a reoccurrence, it feels it was a bit higher up his thigh. He feels something again but with ten minutes to go he didn’t want to come off even though he was not really aware, neither was I, what further damage could be done and he was refusing to come off.
“I could have taken him off and he wouldn’t have refused. It is just when you are in that moment, you are desperate to do well and that’s right through the squad. There is nobody carrying niggles saying ‘I want to leave it’.
“When they’ve had a reoccurrence, Benedictus in particular, when you look at it, we basically need to start like it’s a preseason for him now, with the time he’s missed out. We’ve been careful with the injuries. I keep saying it, but the way this club is with medical care and specialists, you can’t say a bad word at all. We’ve had all the best opinions, we’ve done it in the best way we feel we can and it’s just one of these things at the minute.”
Players back for Friday
“Paul Allan should be ok. Lewis (McCann) is flying, to be fair. He’s now high-speed running, so Lewis should be OK for next week. Again, it’s one of those ones, you get a wee bit excited and you want to rush him, we can’t do that. Particularly the way he plays and with it being a hamstring.
“Matthew has a Zoom call with a specialist in London tonight, so we’ll know about Matthew tonight. It was during the Arbroath, the last minute he felt something in his hamstring. It doesn’t look like a very good one, if we’re honest but we’ll wait and see what the specialist says tonight.”
“I was speaking today to some of the staff and it’s the worst period I can remember in terms of even being a player. I was no stranger to injuries, so I spent a fair bit of time in the treatment room but I can never remember a [period] like this. Whether as a player, coach or manager. You can sulk on it, you can … the big thing is you see the character in the group. Chris Hamilton playing with a mask when he was offered surgery – he’s decided he wants to play for the football club.
“Michael had a knock on his shin. He was ill at the Ayr United game, gets a knock in the game, comes off but even when we were leaving him out due to the injury, he wanted to be on the bench against Raith. I thought he came on and was very effective.
“Players are certainly giving all they can, the ones that can. Paul Allan is desperate to play. McCann is desperate to play, we’re not going to allow him – and there is another couple, but I won’t go into it. There’s a few more that are desperate to play but we need to be aware of what happens if they do play and something goes wrong.”