MAITLAND Magpies coach Mick Bolch says he will err on the side of caution in his selections for Sunday’s El Clasicoal derby against the Weston Bears.

Bolch is fuming over a tackle which has sidelined backman Grant Brown and left his playing stocks even more threadbare.

The Maitland mentor is also unable to call on injured duo Matt Thompson and Ryan Broadley for up to a month and midfielder Sean Pratt is overseas.

Relief is coming with former Newcastle Jets player Nick Cowburn signing with the Magpies to join his cousins Carl and Liam Thornton, however, Cowburn will not be available for the Magpies until their game against Broadmeadow Magic in the first weekend of July.

“It’s all about managing the squad at the moment. There were a lot of tired and sore boys on the weekend against Valentine,” Bolch said.

“You break it down three or four weeks ago we had Alex Read, Grant Brown, Sean Pratt and Jimmy Thompson, boys like that fresh on the bench coming on.

“But in the last couple of weeks we’ve lost Sean Pratt, Matt Thompson, Ryan Broadley and it looks like Grant Brown is out long-term now because he got a real bad tackle on the weekend and could have a fractured ankle.”

Bolch said youngsters Louis Townsend and Tommy Duggan were vital injections in the weekend’s win against Valentine and may come into calculation for starts against the Bears.

He said it was a massive game with both sides in strong form going into Sunday’s encounter at Cook Square Park.
“They have won their last five straight in the comp and we’ve won our last five including two FFA Cup games, but we’ve just got to see what side we can get on the park,” he said.

“We’ll spend the week in the ice baths recovering and getting ready again. Match fitness doesn’t get affected at this stage of the year, it is just about trying to freshen the group up. It would be ideal to be able to freshen a couple up. The problem is you keep playing them, you fatigue them, and they can do a hamstring or soft tissue injury and be out for five or six weeks.”

“We threw our eggs in the basket a bit on the weekend knowing that if we got the three points, that if we drop a game in the next two or three weeks we have a bit of a break. It may have to be that way to ensure the wellbeing of the squad.”

MAITLAND MERCURY – Michael Hartshorn (Friday June 21, 2019)