THE diary of Argyle physiotherapist Paul Atkinson is a busy one at the moment, despite the holiday season.The Pilgrims dressing room has had its fair share of walking wounded of late, and manager John Sheridan has had to make use of his full squad as the side’s promotion push continues.
The bulging diary, though, still contains plenty of question marks over the return dates of several injured Pilgrims.
Two men who missed out on Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Dagenham & Redbridge – and are rated extremely doubtful for the Boxing Day trip to Newport County – are defender Peter Hartley and midfielder Dominic Blizzard.
Hartley, who had missed just one game prior to Saturday, pulled out at the eleventh hour for Dagenham, withdrawing during the warm-up for the game. Dom received his calf injury the previous week, in the 3-2 win at Northampton.
The manager may have to do without the pair for the last two remaining games of the year, but is looking to the first game of 2015 as a likely return date.
“He [Peter] had a jab before Saturday so we’ll get it assessed and see what the real problem is,” said John. “It’s just a case of resting. We are probably looking at the York game, as the two games coming up are a bit early.
“He’s [Dominic] is another one. He’ll be looking at York, probably just because games are a bit close together. He’s running and coming on fine.”
Captain Curtis Nelson was another to miss Saturday’s victory, having dislocated his elbow at Northampton. Despite the apparent severity of the injury at the time, it seems that the skipper may be able to recover quicker than was first thought.
“I think he’ll be involved in one of the games (against Newport and Oxford); we’ll just wait and see,” explained John.
“He’s got a chance of being involved in both; we’ve just got to be careful with him because he’s going running, and it’s just one of those things where (it could worsen) if he does land on it again.
“We’ll be careful and get him strong and fit enough.”
In the absence of Hartley and Nelson, 19-year-old Aaron Bentley made his league debut for Argyle. Bentley played the entirety of the match at centre-back, and helped Argyle pick up their 12th clean sheet of the season.
Despite the decision being last minute, John was impressed by how well Aaron played in the match.
“Sometimes that’s the best way, throw them in when they least expect it,” said John.
“He’s been training with us all season. He’s come in, as Pete was last minute, but we’ve prepared with him and he did a good job. He probably had a bit of a shaky start but after five or 10 minutes I think he relaxed and enjoyed the game, and he was part of a really good result.”