We’ve got the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) team news information in our first press conference summary ahead of Gameweek 16 – and it’s a brief round-up to say the least.
Only three pre-match pressers took place on Thursday, involving the managers of Leeds United, Southampton and Watford, while Brentford‘s Thomas Frank faced reporters a day earlier.
We’ll get a maximum of 16 further media gatherings on Friday but, with Brighton and Hove Albion v Tottenham Hotspur expected to be postponed, that number will likely fall by two.
Leicester City v Newcastle United is, for now, seemingly not at risk, despite the Foxes being hit by some Covid-19 cases of their own.
Ivan Toney will miss the visit of Watford after testing positive for Covid-19 last Friday, while Sergi Canos will also be unavailable after picking up his fifth booking of the season in the draw with Leeds United.
Thomas Frank refused to rule Toney in or out of Tuesday’s Gameweek 17 clash with Manchester United, which falls outside of the 10-day isolation period – but only just.
For all of Frank’s pre-match comments about Saman Ghoddos being an option up top, it’ll surely be a fight between Marcus Forss and Yoane Wissa for the vacant spot in attack.
“I will not tell you! That is for Watford to guess about, I would say that those two are options of course. There is also Saman Ghoddos, who played as a two-striker role earlier in his career so I have a couple of solutions that I’m working on, and we’ve worked on today and we’ll work on tomorrow before I take the decision.” – Thomas Frank
Josh DaSilva (hip), David Raya (knee), Kristoffer Ajer (hamstring) and Zanka (muscle) remain out but Mads Bech Sorensen is back in contention after a recent spell in self-isolation following a positive Covid-19 test of his own.
Leeds United confirmed that Patrick Bamford, Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper all picked up hamstring injuries in Gameweek 15. The “evolution of [Bamford’s] injury is subject to daily assessment”, according to the medical bulletin, but Cooper and Phillips are out – the latter potentially sidelined for two months, if media reports are to be believed.
Rodrigo also looks set to miss out this weekend in order to aid his long-term recovery from a recurrent heel problem.
Robin Koch has overcome his pelvic injury but, in keeping with Leeds’ awful recent luck on the fitness front, has been ill for the last 10 days and won’t resume normal training again until this weekend.
Watford revealed on Thursday that Adam Masina (thigh) will only be out for a “short period of time” after a scan revealed just a minor strain.
Ken Sema is back in full training after a month out and could be involved this weekend, while Francisco Sierralta (hamstring) hopes to play a full part in training next week.
Ben Foster (groin), Ismaila Sarr (knee), Nicolas Nkoulou (hamstring), Peter Etebo (thigh) and Kwadwo Baah (ankle) remain unavailable.
Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed that goalkeeper Alex McCarthy will be out for “3-4 weeks” with a hamstring injury picked up in Gameweek 15, while the weekend comes “too soon” for Fraser Forster.
New signing Willy Caballero is poised for his debut between the sticks.
“Alex is out for three or four weeks. Fraser tried this week but it’s still a little bit too early for him so will also not make it to the game, I think, so that’s the reason why we signed Willy.
“[Caballero] is fit, he’s coming in with the willingness to help us and this is what we need now.” – Ralph Hasenhuttl
“This is why you need a bigger squad. This season we definitely have more alternatives for rotation. Let’s have a look at the first game, then the other games are coming up in a short space of time.” – Ralph Hasenhuttl on the Christmas schedule
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