Matt and Jak available to return

As the Pars look to kickstart their season at the Wyre Stadium at Firhill on Friday night, James McPake is delighted to have Matty Todd and Alex Jakubiak back available after hamstring injuries. Matty has been out for nine weeks and Alex for seven. Their manager watched them take part fully in training and was pleased to report:- 

“Matty Todd and Alex Jakubiak are genuinely looking brilliant. The two of them have trained all week, we will be cautious with them. Matty has been out the longest – Arbroath was before Queen’s Park. Credit to Craig and the medical department they have got them back and right into training. It is that wee thing, the two of them are trying to tease you – look how good we are looking – and you are getting to the weekend and thinking ‘do we start them?’ 

“We just need to err on the side of caution, we will see how they recover from Wednesday’s session. In terms of the stats it was a tough day on the output for them coming back to their fourth day back in a row training. We just need to be careful with those two, make sure that they are recovering properly and that we are not risking anything with them. Both of them will be in the squad for Friday.”

“Having those two back is great.  I’ve said it before, and we see it now, when you’re doing your 11 v 11, or your nine v nine work, and it’s no disrespect to the kids because I think the kids have been outstanding in what they’ve done, but just having that experience, and how dynamic those two are, training’s gone up a wee bit.”

The manager knows that different strategies open up for the team with their return and on-loan signing Chris Kane is also looking that bit sharper:-

“I think Kano having that extra week training, and 90 minutes under his belt, he’s looked different. Those two coming in, you’ve got options to add everywhere, really.

“Matty Todd can play midfield, he can play high in a front three, he can play as a number 10. Jakubiak is very similar. He can play off a side, or as a central striker, or a striker in a two.  The options are there but just touchwood nothing else happens and we’ve got a strong squad going into Friday.”

It is no consolation but the manager understands that Matty being out has kept away any interest in the 22 year old from other clubs.  With just six starts and three sub appearances this season, Matty has been a big miss in terms of his versatility and dynamism, James would have preferred to have him playing:-

“A Matty Todd in our team would’ve been perfect this year in this league.  He’s different too, not just from most players in our squad, but from most players in any squad in this league with his forward runs.  Not just that but he’s a real goal threat. The numbers he hits in terms of getting about the pitch, he can look after the ball, and I know he’s played here as a right back at times as well, so he’s got a real game intelligence about him for such a young kid.

“I’m delighted to get him back. He’s worked hard again, showed real maturity really to come through that injury again, and then to come back and hit the ground running in training.

“I’ve probably said this over and over since I came in but he’s a player I love working with. He takes information on, he’s desperate to get better, and we’re desperate to get him back as well because Matty Todd – and Alex Jakubiak, but since we’re talking about Matty Todd – Matty Todd in our squad makes it a far better squad.  Whether he’s starting the game, coming off the bench or just taking part in training, he’s a very good player, and one that we’ve badly missed in my opinion.”

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