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Team news: Crewe (H)

Manager's update on Collin, Virtue and O'Connor

2 February 2018

Kevin Nolan reported no fresh injuries ahead of this weekend's game against Crewe Alexandra.

The manager admitted the game was likely to come too soon for defender Matt Tootle, who has been suffering with an illness, but goalkeeper Adam Collin came through the FA Cup tie against Swansea City unscathed.

"It shows the experience of the lad to come back into a game of that magnitude and make it look seamless," said the manager.

"It's going to take him a bit of time to get back to full match sharpness but he is getting better everyday in training.

"He looks really lean and agile, which is a credit to him for the hard work he has put in during his recovery because that is the reason he could come in and do the job he did against Swansea last weekend, making some important saves for us."

Midfielder Matty Virtue will be available for selection after serving a one-game ban against the Swans, although Ross Fitzsimons will be suspended for another two matches.

Michael O'Connor, meanwhile, continues to step up his rehabilitation from the serious knee injury sustained against Portsmouth last April.

"Michael has been joining in training on a non-contact basis so he's looking really good," said Nolan.

"He is on a programme and we rarely change that. We make sure the lads are on a schedule and they try to stick to it 99% of the time. He's progressing well but we don't want to push him too soon because we don't want any setbacks.

"Tom Hallas (club physio) and his staff have been absolutely magnificent with him. They have had everything down to a tee with his rehabilitation and Michael has carried it out to the same standard."

While the Northern Irishman is back in light training, the manager stressed the need not to allow the midfielder do too much, too soon in his comeback.

"Michael is starting to get to the point where he's going into a 'pre-season'.

"We're hoping to see him back out on the pitch sooner rather than later but he won't be rushed. We will do it in the right way because we don't want to jeopardise anything for the future.

"He's the captain of the club so just having him back day-to-day is great. He will bring his quality and put pressure on the other lads when he gets his exposure to minutes.

"It will be like a new signing to give me another selection headache - but the more the merrier!"


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