There’s a lot less team news to get through this week, with only eight clubs in Premier League action in Blank Gameweek 29.
We’ve got all the injury latest in our weekly press conference round-up below.
Neale and Andy’s video is also now available to view on YouTube:
ASTON VILLA V TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
While there is optimism on Bamford’s fitness, there is still a lot of doubt surrounding the availability of Son Heung-min (muscle) for Gameweek 29.
Speaking ahead of Spurs’ ill-fated trip to Croatia on Thursday, Jose Mourinho said of the Korean’s timeframe for recovery:
I don’t know, I don’t know, but of course, no chance for this one.
The Spurs boss looks to be pointing us in the direction of a (potentially tactical) no-show for Gameweek 29, discussing Son’s chances of representing South Korea over the international break:
If a player is injured and cannot play, a friendly or official, it doesn’t matter the match it is. So if we arrived next week and Sonny is injured and we can obviously prove that to the South Korean Football Association, what is he going to do there? Nothing. So if a player cannot play for the club, he cannot play for the country.
Indeed, speaking to the club media later in the day, Mourinho added:
Sonny has no chance for this match, no chance at all. I even feel it’s very doubtful for the weekend. I believe he will need the international break to recover totally.
Annoyingly, we didn’t get an update on Son’s fitness after the defeat in Zagreb.
Spurs otherwise have a fully fit squad for the Aston Villa game, with Giovani Lo Celso making his return from injury in midweek.
As for Aston Villa, Dean Smith said that he was hopeful of Jack Grealish‘s (leg) recovery ahead of the clash with Spurs.
The Villa talisman has been back on the grass this week and described as “pain-free” but Smith did add that Grealish had not even trained with his team-mates as of Friday, saying:
I’m hopeful for Jack. I’ll leave it until Sunday morning. He’s not trained with us at the moment, but he’s pain-free and he’s running. Ultimately, it will be his decision.
I’m hopeful, but if he doesn’t play I can pretty much guarantee he’ll be ready for the Fulham game after the international break. I know Aston Villa fans will be fretting over whether it’s a long-term injury. It’s not a long-term injury. We’ve been guided by Jack, who’s been suffering the pain. We’ll leave it as late as we can.
Bertrand Traore‘s (rib) prognosis is a little more positive, with Smith saying:
Bert is having an injection and he will train on Saturday, so he should be available for selection come Sunday. He got a whack in the rib, took a tumble over the boards and he was in a lot of pain. He went to hospital but thankfully there was no bleed. He’s just had some painkillers for that and he’ll be ready to train Saturday morning.
Wesley is still building back up to full speed and will feature in a bounce game over the international break, while Kortney Hause is similarly in need of match fitness after his own lengthy lay-off.
FULHAM V LEEDS UNITED
Patrick Bamford has a good chance of recovering from a knock to the hip in time for Leeds’ trip to Craven Cottage, although wasn’t pictured in a training ground video on Thursday.
Speaking to the media, Marcelo Bielsa said:
We think that yes, he will play on Friday. He has a knock on his hip that is painful but we don’t think that it’s going to make him miss the game.
Liam Cooper (illness) looks set to miss out on Friday’s match, however, while Leif Davis and Rodrigo are fresh doubts with minor muscle problems picked up in training.
Cooper is sick, Davis has a small articulation problem which is nothing serious. Rodrigo had a contracture yesterday in training which I don’t know if he’s going to be available for the game on Friday. Either way, it’s not an important injury.
Cooper had earlier been ruled out of Scotland’s forthcoming World Cup qualifiers by national team coach Steve Clarke, in doing so implying that he has little chance of featuring in Gameweek 29.
His absence would seem to boost the prospects of Pascal Struijk retaining his place at centre-half, with Bielsa confirming that the budget FPL defender had come through his earlier-than-expected return from injury against Chelsea unscathed.
Robin Koch is fit again, but after a lengthy injury lay-off and after only featuring for 45 minutes for the under-23s earlier this week, his manager said the Whites would “have to be careful” about a first-team comeback.
Scott Parker will be able to name an unchanged side for this match, with no new injuries to report from the Fulham camp and Tom Cairney (knee) still sidelined.
Parker said in his pre-match conference call:
The squad’s all good at the moment, no new fresh injury worries. Tom Cairney is still a little bit off so he won’t be involved.
In the written section of his press conference, Scott Parker later confirmed that Bobby De Cordova-Reid (knock/hamstring) – who missed the defeat to Manchester City – would also sit this game out.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION V NEWCASTLE UNITED
Brighton could be able to call upon Dan Burn for their relegation six-pointer against Newcastle United, with the hamstring injury that forced him off against Southampton not as serious as first feared.
Graham Potter told reporters on Thursday:
He’s responded well. I think he’ll train tomorrow, we’re hopeful he will. So he could be available for the weekend, that’s good news for us.
Striker Aaron Connolly is also an option as a substitute after making a swift recovery from a rib injury – although off-field indiscretions could still cost him a place in the matchday squad.
Tariq Lamptey (hamstring) and Solly March (knee) are long-term absentees, with Adam Webster (foot) not expected back until after the international break.
Allan Saint-Maximin (groin) and Fabian Schar (knee) remain absent ahead of Newcastle’s trip to Brighton but there was positive injury news from the Magpies’ camp to report, with Callum Wilson (hamstring) and Miguel Almiron (knee) both back on the grass.
Steve Bruce told the media:
They’re both back on the grass. We still think with Callum that the international beak is at the right time but he’s well into his rehabilitation, he’s back on the grass.
Almiron trained for the first time yesterday, we’ll see how he is. He’s got a chance – we’ll see.
WEST HAM UNITED V ARSENAL
Bukayo Saka will be assessed for hamstring tightness ahead of the trip to West Ham, having been substituted in the north London derby last weekend and then having missed out against Olympiacos.
Mikel Arteta had earlier in the week declared that the young winger was “much better” but his subsequent comments on Thursday were less positive:
We spoke yesterday and he wasn’t ready to be involved today. We made that decision and we will make that decision for Sunday against West Ham, then we will talk to the doctors at the national team to decide what we do.
On Friday morning, Arteta added:
Everybody was fine after the [Olympiacos] game, we will assess them this morning. Regarding [Bukayo Saka], in the next two days, we will know if he is available to play against West Ham and after that we will make the decision on what to do.
Willian had also missed out on Thursday because of a tight calf, with further news awaited on the Brazilian.
Arteta has reiterated that no problem remains with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after disciplinary issues caused him to sit out the north London derby, saying ahead of the striker’s 90-minute run-out in Europe:
We talked, everything has been resolved in a really positive way so we move forward.
David Moyes said that West Ham’s injury situation remains similar to what it was last weekend, with Pablo Fornals (knock) said to be “improving”.
Longer-term absentees Angelo Ogbonna, Arthur Masuaku and Andriy Yarmolenko aren’t too far away from a return but will sit this one out.
Jesse Lingard is available after being ineligible to face his parent club in Gameweek 28.
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