Bryan Hughes delivered a squad update as Wrexham prepare to return to National League action at home to Sutton United.
Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday evening’s televised fixture at the Racecourse, Hughes confirmed the progress of long-term casualties Rob Lainton and Manny Smith.
And he also delivered an update on the striker situation, with a number of attacking players having been up knocks in recent matches.
On Lainton, Hughes said: “Rob’s coming along OK. The diagnosis at the start of pre-season was that it could be anything between three and 12 weeks, and it’s more like the 12 weeks now.
“He’s not far off. We had him on the bench recently but that was due to cover. The day before the game, Dawid got concussed in training so we had to rest him – at that point, Rob was about 70-75 per cent but he was willing to go on the bench for us just in case we needed him.
“It gave Dawid the time to recover from his concussion as he’s not allowed to do anything for seven days [per regulations].
“Rob’s had an injection to clear the last bit out and that’s hopefully been successful – he’s stepping up his gym work this week and we’ll hopefully get him back on the grass next week.”
Prior to the season, Hughes stated it would be a bonus to see Manny Smith back in action before Christmas and he confirmed that is still the case.
“Manny’s a work in progress,” he added. “He’s had a bit of an ordeal as we know and he’s getting monitored on more of a monthly basis.
“He’s just stepping it up now into gym work – he lost a lot of muscle over these months he’s been out so it’s about building back up and seeing how he progresses.”
Hughes also played down fears of a striker shortage ahead of the Sutton United clash, particularly with Mark Harris back from international duty.
“We’ve had a few people on the sidelines,” Hughes explained. “JJ Hooper obviously got injured against Hartlepool and he’s struggling a little bit [with a hip flexor injury].
“Leighton McIntosh came off with a back injury [against Ayr] and Jason Oswell has been injured from the previous game with a hip flexor. We’ve given them the best opportunities to get recovery into them.”
On his attacking choices, he added: “I’m not afraid to turn to the youth. Jake is still a bit raw at times, but he knows how to finish, and he gets into good goalscoring positions.
“If an opportunity arises, if our strikers aren’t quite fit, I’d have no worries choosing Jake.
“Also, Mark Harris is coming back into the fold and has been playing number nine for Wales Under-21s – and playing well – so he gives us another option. We’ve got other options as well, including Bobby Grant for example.”
The match against Sutton United kicks off at 5.20pm on Saturday September 14. Check out our match-day guide for more information.