Coventry City have had their fair share of injuries over the last few months but things are “looking up,” according to manager Mark Robins.
Skipper Liam Kelly has been the manager’s biggest concern in recent weeks after suffering a hamstring tear on the opening day of the Championship campaign at Bristol City.
The good news is that the influential midfielder is back in training ahead of the trip to Oakwell.
Elsewhere, Jodi Jones has had his surgery to repair his ACL, Wes Jobello is back on the grass and Julien Dacosta is making excellent progress.
Here manager Mark Robins gives an update from the treatment room as to when fans can expect to see the club’s casualties back.
The Sky Blues skipper dropped to the deck after just 20-odd minutes at Ashton Gate almost a fortnight ago, requiring treatment before being forced to withdraw with a hamstring injury.
A scan provided a clearer picture, revealing a “small tear” which ruled the midfielder out for the 3-2 victory over QPR.
The good news is that Kelly joined back in with training today (FRI) ahead of the trip to Barnsley, but Robins admitted: “Things are looking up but he won’t be available for this weekend.”
The 17-year-old precocious talent is set to see a specialist after it has been confirmed that the exciting young forward dislocated his shoulder against Gillingham.
The young forward had to go off early in the second half of the Carabao Cup clash in Kent after falling heavily on his left shoulder.
“The shoulder popped out and popped back in again but he’s done the other one as well a while ago so they have scanned both shoulders,” said Robins.
“So we’re waiting for some orthopaedic opinion as to the next steps.”
The good news is that Bapaga didn’t require surgery the last time it happened to the other shoudler so he’ll no doubt be hoping that is the case again this time.
The Sky Blues understudy has not featured in the new season so far as rookie keeper Tom Billson continues to provide emergency back-up to first choice Marko Marosi.
“He’s hurt his wrist and it’s obviously a significant injury for a goalkeeper,” explained Robins, who handed Billson his senior debut against Gillingham in the Carabao Cup this week.
“He’ll be out until the end of the month.”
There’s positive news on 24-year-old Dacosta, who has been brought in this summer to rival Fankaty Dabo in the right wing-back slot.
The Frenchman has had surgery to repair ankle ligaments he damaged in training.
Although Robins was initially told he’d not see the new signing back in action until November, he revealed: “He should be three to four weeks away now, so he’s ahead of schedule, which is good.”
He added: “We have had some new physiotherapy rehabilitation equipment which we have got in to work with him. We have an AlterG anti-gravity treadmill. It means you can alter gravity and he can run without the addition of gravity, so that will help.
“It will help with our injured players, helping them to get back quickly and ensure they maintain their cardiovascular ability.”
The 25-year-old summer signing got 55 minutes in last week’s final pre-season friendly against Solihull Moors that finished 2-2, adding to the 60 minutes in the previous week’s 3-1 friendly victory over Southampton U-23s and backing up the 10 minutes he played against Peterborough United before that.
However, he was an unused substitute against Gillingham in Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup tie in Kent.
“He’s started on a course of treatment to try to alleviate the problem,” Robins said of the German winger’s asthma problem.
“It won’t stop it but it will certainly be able to improve his function and I’m hoping it will improve sufficiently to enable him to do the work that he’s going to need to get to the level. So I am hopeful on that.
“But it’s been a really tough time for him, moving to a new country and new everything really.
“And this on top, meaning he couldn’t hit the ground running like he’d wanted to has been tough for him but hopefully he can now look forward to functioning properly.”
The fans’ favourite was hoped to have put his injury nightmare behind him when he bagged back to back stunning goals in pre-season ahead of the new Championship campaign.
The 22-year-old was showing all the signs of being back to his best and finally able to realise his huge potential after recovering from two ACL injuries to his left knee – the first happening at Stevenage in November 2017.
Following his recovery from that setback, Jones broke down almost exactly a year later in November 2018 against Peterborough United with a recurring rupture in the same knee.
More than 12 months on again and the lively forward made a tentative return to action against MK Dons in the Football League Trophy before playing a string of Under-23 games to build up his strength and fitness.
COVID-19 then brought a halt to the season, giving the player longer than anticipated to get himself fighting fit ahead of the 2020/21 campaign in the second tier.
But on Friday, September 4, Jones suffered the same injury for a third time, this time to his right knee, which will now see him out of action for at least the next nine months.
“He’s had his operation, which went really well thankfully so he’s on the road to recovery,” said Robins, providing an update on the popular player.
The French winger is currently recovering from a torn ACL, suffered last October.
“His story is a different one because he had his surgery a long time ago and his knee obviously needed to recover,” said Robins.
“So lockdown was probably a good thing for him because it meant his surgery could do its work and settle down like we wanted it to.
“While you’re playing you’re always wanting to get back in and Wes is now at the point where he’s going to have to work harder in the gym and on the pitch than he’s ever worked to make sure that he gets back to the level that means both legs are the same in terms of strength and power.
“He’s back training full time now so that’s brilliant.
“At the end of the day we’re talking about the end of September as the due date for him being back in training but we just have to wait and see.”