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Byrne provides update on squad ahead of Blackburn

23 December 2021

Assistant Head Coach Cliff Byrne has provided an update on how the squad is shaping up ahead of our fixture against Blackburn Rovers on Boxing Day.

Earlier today, the club announced that Head Coach Grant McCann will be absent from the touchline against Tony Mowbray’s side after testing positive for Covid-19.

“We’ve had some cases across the playing staff and across the non-playing staff,” Byrne confirmed.

“It’s ever-changing and we’ve got to test on a daily basis now - those are the rules in place from the EFL. The focus is on the players that are out on the grass and the game coming up on Sunday.”

Away from Covid-19, Byrne had good news to share following last weekend’s game against Nottingham Forest, as well as the progress of Alfie Jones and Lewie Coyle as they continue to recover from long-term injuries.

“No fresh ones to speak of at the moment,” Byrne said when questioned about whether any fresh injuries were picked up at the City Ground.

“Alfie (Jones) is progressing well. I think the finishing line is in sight in terms of where he’s been at and how long he’s been out. He’s progressing nicely and hasn’t had any setbacks along the way. The medical team are working hard with him, as he is with them.

“He’s (Lewie Coyle) also progressing really well. He’s coming through the different stages of the rehab. There haven’t been any setbacks along the way so he’s progressing as we would expect with the medical team. We look forward to having the both of them back as soon as we can.”

Brandon Fleming returned to first-team training a few weeks ago, and Byrne says that he is continuing to get back up to speed.

“Brandon (Fleming) has been back training now for a number of weeks. He played a good chunk of minutes for the Under-23s. He needs more game time as he would suggest himself anyway but in terms of training he’s been back in among the group for nearly a month now.”

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