Fantasy Premier League managers learned a great deal about recently injured players in Double Gameweek 24’s pre-match press conferences.
After a swathe of key figures sustained problems in the FA Cup, the importance of these media briefings was higher than ever.
And, thankfully, we were treated to a number of relatively helpful updates.
Pep Guardiola was in an uncharacteristically forthcoming mood, confirming that key Double Gameweek defender Rúben Dias (£6.1m) had returned to training following an illness.
🗣️ Pep Guardiola reveals that Rúben Dias returned to training today, while Rodri was also back on the grass and Sergio Aguero trained for the second time. Guardiola adds that apart from Nathan Ake, Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho, his squad are fit.#FFScout #FPL #GW24 #DGW24 pic.twitter.com/apsTyfDX9U— Fantasy Football Scout (@FFScout) February 12, 2021
The Manchester City manager also revealed that Rodri (£5.3m) after sustaining a knock against Swansea midweek, good news for anyone previously concerned about Ilkay Gündogan (£6.0m) moving into a deeper midfield role.
Still, how long the German international can last in his more advanced role, which works best in combination with a false-nine, remains to be seen considering Sergio Aguero (£10.3m) trained for the second time this week following a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test.
The Nick Pope (£5.5m) scare appears to be over as quickly as it began. The goalkeeper was left out of the FA Cup defeat against Bournemouth with a knock, as revealed by Sean Dyche talking to talkSPORT midweek.
However, he confirmed on Thursday that the goalkeeper had “recovered to train”.
“Charlie Taylor getting fitter, will be touch and go. Robbie Brady, similar but different to Charlie – it’s the risk and reward of playing these guys. Woody is a doubt for the weekend. Nick Pope, he has settled down.” – Sean Dyche
Meanwhile, Roy Hodgson had “nothing new to report” in terms of injuries ahead of Double Gameweek 24 as Wilfried Zaha (£7.1m) remains on the sidelines. Crystal Palace are yet to score a single goal in a Premier League match he did not start this season.
Carlo Ancelotti has ruled Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m) out of Everton’s first Double Gameweek 24 fixture against Fulham.
And, somewhat unfortunately for his owners, it is the Machester City meeting on Wednesday which the striker might be fit for, as well as Jordan Pickford (£4.8m).
“Both (Calvert-Lewin and Pickford) will not be available for the game on Sunday. We are looking for the next game on Wednesday where we think both of them will be available. “I think (Calvert-Lewin) stopped [playing] before the problem [developed]. He only had a sensation, a feeling that something was not good and he stopped. He has a little problem, he can play on Wednesday.” – Carlo Ancelotti
There was better news on James Rodríguez (£7.7m) who has returned to training and is available to play twice in Double Gameweek 24.
“Rodríguez is fine, he’s trained yesterday and today. He’s available for the game on Sunday, no problem.” – Carlo Ancelotti
Even with Rodríguez back in the team, Calvert-Lewin is still consigned to a single Gameweek fixture against Manchester City. As a result, his Fantasy stock will have fallen considerably in the wider context of a Double Gameweek.
There is also no change in the Fulham camp as they prepare to face Everton and Burnley.
In his Friday press conference, Scott Parker confirmed Tom Cairney (£5.2m) and Terence Kongolo (£4.3m) remained his only injury absentees.
The 29.7% ownership of James Justin (£5.2m) certainly have a transfer on their hands after Brendan Rodgers revealed the defender had injured his ACL. Upcoming opponents Liverpool will be without Fabinho (£5.4m).
“Fabinho will not be available, he suffered again a little muscle issue so will be out for this game. So we’ll have to find a solution and all of them had the chance this week to show in training who is ready.” – Jurgen Klopp
Meanwhile, there was a slightly less helpful update from David Moyes concerning Michail Antonio (£6.7m).
After the West Ham forward was diagnosed with fatigue, his manager said on Friday the player was “doing well” and would “hopefully be close” to being involved against Sheffield United on Monday.
Moyes was clearer on Angelo Ogbonna (£5.0m) and Issa Diop (£4.3m) though. The former is definitely out of Double Gameweek 24 with an ankle injury while the latter “is fine” after sustaining a head injury midweek.
It is also a case of one in, one out for Manchester United. Paul Pogba (£7.6m) will not feature at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday afternoon but Eric Bailly (£4.9m) is back in training.
“We’ve had a rare opportunity to do a bit of training and recovery. Paul [Pogba] is out. Eric has been training, which is a boost to us.Eric is available. He has trained for a couple of days so he’ll be available for selection. So that’s a positive. Apart from that, no-one else is back.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Leeds assets could be restricted in their full potential this weekend considering the latest update on Kalvin Phillips (£4.9m).
The holding midfielder, who has acted as the Whites’ lynchpin this season, is currently a doubt after picking up a knock in Monday’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. Robin Koch (£4.3m) and Diego Llorente (£4.4m) are still missing in defence.
“There’s not a definite position at the moment whether he’ll be able to play or not. For the moment, no player is coming back and Kalvin remains a doubt. In the case of Robin Koch, week to week we are verifying when he can return. With regards Diego Llorente, it’s a day to day thing.” – Marcelo Bielsa
Still, Arsenal unlikely to be at full strength either. Mikel Arteta needs to see more of Kieran Tierney (£5.2m) in training before making a call on the left-back while Thomas Partey (£4.9m) has been ruled out.
Timo Werner (£9.2m) has recovered from his dead leg in time to face Newcastle this weekend although Thiago Silva (£5.6m) misses out with Kai Havertz (£8.2m) also a doubt.
“It’s maybe too close for Kai, still, and for sure, for Thiago. For Thiago, we are aiming for Southampton. Let’s see if we make it – cannot promise. For Kai, let’s see if he’s out today. Will be a very short time so maybe he will be missing this match.” – Thomas Tuchel
Newcastle are set to be without Callum Wilson (£6.7m) for “six to eight weeks” following a tear to his hamstring. Fabian Schär (knee) and Javier Manquillo (ankle) will both be out for a similar length of time with ligament damage.
Dean Smith gave his usual update ahead of the weekend’s action. Kortney Hause (£4.4m) and Wesley (£6.0m) are the only absentees for Aston Villa, who still have the same group of players available for selection after the 1-0 win over Arsenal.
Adam Webster (£4.4m) is doubtful to feature for Brighton against Villa, while Graham Potter put a 12-week timescale on Solly March‘s (£5.0m) return from his knee injury. Davy Pröpper (£4.8m) has trained and his manager “thinks” he will be available on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Tariq Lamptey (£4.6m) is “making good progress now and [is] not far away” although Brighton are erring on the side of caution as he recovers from his hamstring problem.
Grady Diangana (£5.0m) is now back in full training for West Bromwich Albion following his recent hamstring strain.