Let’s put aside the bad news from this morning’s press conference for now, it seems that we might finally be close to getting Jorge Grant back in the first team.
There have been rumours over the last week or two that he is back on the grass, and that was confirmed today by Michael Appleton ahead of tomorrow’s early kick-off against Bristol Rovers.
Tomorrow is too soon for our leading scorer, but it seems he could play some role in the final four or five matches of the season, starting in as little as one week’s time.
“He is reasonably close,” said Michael, when asked about Jorge. “We do expect him to in and around the squad next week. He may be back for the Hull game.”
That game is due to take place at Sincil Bank next Saturday, which means we could also see Grant back for Shrewsbury, Peterborough and Charlton, three hugely important away matches. The final game of the season should also feature Jorge, AFC Wimbledon visit and by then we would hope to have tied up a play-off spot.
Grant picked up his injury in the dying minutes of our 4-3 defeat at Plymouth, a game in which we handed victory to our opponents on a plate after giving them a two-goal start. Coincidentally, we lost just one in 15 going into the Plymouth game, and lost four in nine since, winning just two.
It’s not all good news I’m afraid. It seems that three players are doubtful for the trip to the Memorial Stadium, with the biggest concern likely to be Joe Walsh. The Welsh defender only started his first game since Valentine’s Day this week but is already rated 50/50 for tomorrow. He is joined on the doubtful list by Adam Jackson, posing a potential problem at centre back, as well as James Jones.
The Gas are enduring a torrid season, having only scored 40 goals in their 41 matches; only Northampton have scored fewer. They have conceded 64, have the second-worst goal difference in the division and desperately need a win in what seems to be a futile battle against relegation. Their local press even reported that they deserve to be relegated this season, after getting through three managers and failing to make key signings in the winter window.
Sounds to me like the sort of banana skin we desperately need to avoid slipping on as we focus our attention on the recent upturn in form, which has seen us lose just one in four, that coming against Oxford with half a squad. Whatever happens this weekend, the news the Grant could be coming back into the side is massive, and the timing is great too. Whoever goes into the final six games in form and in the play-offs stands a great chance of actually reaching the Championship, and after two months in which our hopes seemed to be fading, I’m feeling confident that we are still very much in with a shout.