Simon confident ahead of trip to Middlesbrough
Despite a number of injury and suspension headaches Simon Grayson is confident that his players can earn something from their trip to Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.
Town will definitely be without midfielder Adam Clayton after he picked up his fifth booking of the season at Charlton; but Simon is hoping that Keith Southern will be available after Town appealed his sending off at the Valley on Saturday.
“We hope to hear about Keith’s red card as soon as possible, we don’t believe it was a sending off, which is an opinion that Chris Powell also shares,” said Simon.
“I don’t know what they will decide and I have two teams set in my mind for Tuesday night. One team features Keith, whereas the other one doesn’t – we will wait and see.”
He continued: “We have some tired bodies, the players worked extremely hard for a long period of the game at Charlton with just ten men. We haven’t done much this morning (Monday); it has been more of a recovery day. Even if we had finished with 11 men I was looking to freshen things up for Tuesday night’s game because back to back games are tough – and we do have good options.”
One of those aforementioned options could be midfielder Chris Atkinson who returned back to Town on Monday following the completion of his highly successful loan at npower League 2 Chesterfield.
“I welcomed Chris back to the Club this morning and spoke to him about the last few months. The reports that we have had done on him have been fantastic and Glynn Snodin went to go watch him and reported the same. He scored a few goals and has done well. The experience Chris will have taken in is the reason why loan deals are so important. The younger lads come back fitter, stronger and with a better understanding of the game. He might not be in our 18 between now and January, but I know that if I have to throw him into the team or on to the bench then he will do a good job. I like him as a player; he has a fantastic attitude and a lot of good qualities.”
Middlesbrough has been flying high in the Championship following a run of eight games unbeaten, but came crashing down to earth in the last week following back to back defeats against Cardiff and Bristol City.
“It is going to be another tough game,” Simon told htafc.com. “They have been in a great run of form and the game on the weekend went totally against what everyone would have been expecting. That is the Championship, though. We will have to be hard to beat because as a team and as individuals they are very good. It is a difficult place to play football, but it will be a good atmosphere and hopefully we will be able to replicate a similar sort of performance to the weekend.
“They are a good footballing team who try and pass it around and work the ball through the sections of the team. They will want to bounce back from their disappointing display against Bristol City.”
On the injury front, Town’s attacking trio of Jermaine Beckford, James Vaughan and Sean Scannell all missed the Charlton game and Simon provided an update on their fitness.
“As I have said before their injuries are progressing, but we won’t be rushing them back too soon. I sound like a broken record, but we will assess everyone tomorrow morning. Out of the three, Sean Scannell is probably the closest to being ready for a return to action – he only just missed out the weekend. They are not a million miles off, but I don’t want to give false hope to anyone.”
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