As an away at Coventry City awaits Vale at the weekend, Michael Brown spoke to the club’s official website about the condition of his squad.
With players returning from injury in the mid-week reserves fixture against Walsall, Brown spoke on the fitness of striker Tyrone Barnett: “He is looking okay. It was a good run out for him [against Walsall], obviously he wasn’t tested as much as we would have liked but it was good to have him back.
“It is not too soon [for him to return on Saturday], but he won’t be able to play 90-minutes whenever we do bring him back. He is looking bright and heading in the right direction. We would love to have him in the squad shortly.”
Lawrie Wilson, unfortunately, was on the wrong end of a flailing elbow which saw him withdraw with injury: “He took a nasty knock on his cheekbone. We are seeing now whether it needs stitches or not.”
With regards to Wilson’s fitness, Brown said: “Lawrie has had a hamstring attachment which is a very tricky surgery. You have to be careful with it, and we know that. But he is an ultimate professional; he is working in the right direction.
“It was a poor injury and he was flying before that in a very strong Bolton team. It will be great the more he progresses to bring him in to the squad properly and I am sure he is going to contribute a lot this season.
Further, another player who featured against Walsall mid-week was former Manchester United winger Cameron Stewart. However, the gaffer was quick to put any transfer rumours to bed: “There is no deal at all. We have discussed it with Cameron about training with us to get himself fit, and that is where it is at.
“I know Cameron from Leeds. He has not had a club for such a long time and he has had some bad injuries so ultimately, he finds himself in poor condition for someone with his quality. We are just helping him get some fitness.”
Another player returning to the first team in the past week, but this time from a successful loan spell at Macclesfield Town is Adam Yates, and Brown is weighing up his options before making a decision on his immediate future: “Yates’ loan is up and we have been asked to look to extend it. We are just looking at things now to see where we are at the moment; assessing where and what we should do which is the right path for Yatesy. But he is progressing nicely.
The 40-year old thinks his defender is responding well after a long lay-off: “He is a seasoned player, Adam. He has played for a number of years and this is his football club, and he is going in the right direction to get back to full fitness, which is great to see after such a bad injury.”
Brown’s squad travels to the Ricoh Arena on Saturday to face a Coventry side who are expected to bounce straight back up to League One this season. Last time Vale visited the Ricoh, the Sky Blues ran out 2-1 winners, and Brown will be looking for revenge.