We’ll be fit and raring to go at Hemel, says Holleran

Leamington manager Paul Holleran has allayed fears his side are facing an injury crisis ahead of their Evo-Stik Southern League opener on August 13.

Ben Mackey was the latest player forced on to the sidelines after spraining an ankle ten minutes into last Saturday’s friendly draw at Sutton Coldfield Town.

Fellow striker Jacob Blyth is already facing a race against time to be fit for the trip to Hemel, while Jamie Hood, Stephan Morley, Alex Taylor and Lee Downes all sat out the match at Coles Lane due to injuries.

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However, while admitting Blyth was his biggest worry, the 40-year-old said he expects the remainder of his squad, barring Scott Lycett, to be available for selection come Saturday week.

“My only concern is Jacob, but he’s making good progress,” said Holleran. “He’s responding well and he’ll be very close for Hemel.

“You’ve got to be careful with ankle ligaments. As much as he’s a big part of what we do, sometimes you need to give it that extra week and it will be fine.”

Holleran said the withdrawal of Mackey was only precautionary, with the burly frontman expected to start tomorrow’s final warm-up game at Solihull Moors.

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And despite it being the latest in a series of niggly injuries to befall his players, Holleran said he had no regrets about arranging such a packed pre-season schedule.

“The Coventry game came out of the blue while some games were classed as Leamington XI games.

“But if you look, the majority of players have only played four or five games - nobody will have played all ten. And some players, like Jamie Hood, have only played two.

“Last year, we had seven or eight games and some of the players felt they didn’t have enough pre-season.

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“As it stands, if you’re not playing football, you’re running.

“You can’t beat match practice. All the players we have brought in have been young and you can’t beat putting them in a match situation.

“Of the injuries we’ve picked up, Jacob Blyth landed awkwardly and Jamie Hood twisted and got a back spasm.

“It is not something I’m concerned with.”

One player who is certain to miss the August 13 opener is Lycett.

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The defender fell from a ladder while helping a friend on his window cleaning round and is expected to be out for at least four weeks.

“He’s fallen 25 feet on to solid concrete,” said Holleran.

“It’s knocked him about and he’s badly bruised. The shoulder that he’s had a problem with looks like it popped out and back in again and he needs to rest up and fully recover.

Football should be the furthest thing from his mind.”

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