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Smallwood & Burke Nearing Return

16 April 2021

Grant McCann is hoping to have captain Richie Smallwood and defender Reece Burke back available for Tuesday’s match against Sunderland.

Experienced midfielder Smallwood has been absent since early February with a knee injury, while centre-back Burke has missed the last four matches with a calf problem.

Speaking at his pre-Fleetwood press conference, McCann said: “Some positive news – we’ve had Richie Smallwood and Reece Burke back out on the grass this week.

“The game tomorrow will probably come too quick for them. Looking ahead to Sunderland, they could be available, which is pleasing.

“Apart from that, we’re all good (on the injury front).”

Despite not being involved on the pitch over the last two months, Smallwood has remained an important influence in the dressing room.

“Richie has been excellent,” McCann added.

“It’s very difficult when you’re injured because you’ve got a set plan to do every single day and you’ve got to get through that.

“The injured players will probably stay longer than the boys who are training. They’re just desperate to get back fit.

“But Richie has been involved in everything we do. Every meeting we have with the leadership group or team meeting we have, Richie is there.

“He comes to all the games, he’s in the changing room, he comes and speaks to the staff, he speaks to the players – he’s a huge influence.

“He is a total born winner and we knew when we were signing Richie what he was about.

“Although we haven’t been able to use him, just having Richie in and around the squad has been a huge advantage for us and a huge boost for the players.”

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