Manager Nathan Jones spoke on the ‘unprecedented’ injury list he and his staff are having to deal with in the lead-up to Saturday’s away fixture against AFC Bournemouth.
After a physically tough week with three matches and a host of injury problems to juggle, the gaffer is hoping his team can produce a good performance for a sold-out away end at the Vitality Stadium but is also aware of the quality Scott Parker’s side possess.
“They are an ex-Premier League side, thought they were going to get promoted last year, they haven’t weakened in anyway, lost Danjuma but brought in real quality in terms of the players they’ve brought in, so they’re as good a side as there is at this level. At this moment in time they’re the best side in this division, because they’re top of the league and the league doesn’t really lie, so it’s going to be a tough game.”
On the injury front, he continued: "It is a day-to-day thing now, it is an unprecedented time I have never seen anything like it to be honest with you. We’re literally taking everything day to day, we don’t know what things are going to happen. It is the most phenomenal thing I’ve ever seen, I cant fathom it because structurally we are exactly the same. Normally we have 94/95 per cent availability rate, now we’re fearful to train.
One player who made his long-awaited return on Saturday is Jordan Clark, something Jones was delighted to see.
“It’s pleasing, but he’s nowhere near full fitness, or he wasn’t last week as after the horrific challenge he went through. He’s been out, a concussion injury turned into five weeks without playing a game and he comes back and he’s been able to do limited training with us, but just shows the character that he has to be able to come in.
“That's where we were last week, we did not want to put him, because it’s probably too soon, bit very pleased to have him back as he was in wonderful form before he got injured, been one of our best players, he’s very versatile, so why we’re going through this problem, he can cover those and we’ve missed him.”
The gaffer also spoke about Dion Pereira and after two assists in a midweek development win against Stevenage, Jones revealed: "He’s really, really pushing to do well and sooner or later he’ll get an opportunity and then it will be up to him to take it. We believe in him, we have given him a new contract, we believe he is a talented individual, it’s just showing it in certain games, so he will get that opportunity and when he does, hopefully he takes it.”