KENNY BLACK has revealed that influential Bradford City right-back Tony McMahon is itching for a return to action this weekend – but insists the club will not jeopardise his long-term fitness by bringing him back too early.
The experienced set-piece exponent has been out since suffering a small hamstring tear in the 4-1 win at MK Dons on October 7 – expected to sideline him for between two to four weeks.
The 31-year-old is keen to make his comeback in Saturday’s League One game at Portsmouth, but assistant-boss Black says that the club will adopt a sensible and medical-based approach to his involvement for fear of him possibly suffering a relapse.
On McMahon, who has trained for a few days this week, Black said: “Tony is an optimistic character. Even coming off the pitch at MK Dons, he was saying that it would not be that bad.
“He probably thinks he is back available and fit. But we have got Chris Short who does a magnificent job with the medical department and he keeps on at him quite a lot.
“It is hard work because Macca just does enough and thinks that he is fit. But you have got to pass all the tests and do things right.
“We certainly do not want any player out for a certain amount of time. Bring him back too early and you lose him for a while.”
Meanwhile, Black is urging Bradford’s supporting cast to keep putting in the hard yards on the training ground in order to be ready for the League One call at short notice.
A number of players, including the likes of Alex Jones, Shay McCartan, Adam Thompson and Danny Devine have found opportunities hard to come by at league level, but Black admits the situation could quickly change.
Black, who says that Paul Taylor and Dominic Poleon are on the mend, although he is remaining coy over whether they will make their returns from injury at Fratton Park at the weekend, said: “Players have got to be ready at the drop of a hat.
“We were going along fine against MK Dons and then all of a sudden, we get a couple of injuries.
“These lads need to step in.
“We have had the injury to Adam Chicksen and Tom Field has had to come in.
“The stuff that you do on the training field all of a sudden becomes really important.”