Positive news during international week for three of our players who have missed the start of the 2009/10 season.
On Roque Santa Cruz:
On Vincent Kompany:
“We're happy with him, as I've said before we have to give him the time he needs, and he is working really hard. He's desperate to play, but we're holding him back a bit because we have a break at the moment.
“The internationals actually come at a good time for him, psychologically he's not missing any more games but he's adding to his fitness. When Roque is ready he will be involved, we want to get him in a City shirt and out there playing because he is going to be a big asset for us. With our options up front, we can give him the time he needs.
“We're looking at the long-term with him, if we introduced him too early we could still lose him on a longer basis. Roque understands our thinking over this, he's a bit frustrated but we will all benefit from it.”
“Vinnie’s doing well; we are having to try to keep the reins on him too,” reported the boss. “The bone in the toe needs the time it deserves to heal, if you don't do that then the player is compromised. It will heal in its own time, but he is pain-free and raring to go.”On Michael Johnson:
“We're positive, Michael saw a specialist a few weeks back, was very happy afterwards and since then we have been building up his fitness. The approach we are taking with Michael is that we want to give him games to give him a base level of fitness,” explained Hughes.
“He's been out for a year; if we rush him back he could break down. We'll get him involved with the reserves, and if we get him and the other two up and running in the next month or so it would be like three new signings for us.”
It is a measure of our progress this year that even with the above trio absent, we have managed their loss and not looked a weak side, something that would not be true even last season where the loss of a trio such as Santa Cruz, Kompany and Johnson would be damaging indeed.
Whilst the return of Kompany and Santa Cruz will give the squad an even stronger look, it is the return of the Johnson that for most will be the exciting one. Out for nearly eighteen months with injury it is the memory of his superb start to the 2007/08 season that we are left with, and the thought that even with a squad with the depth we now have, Johnson could well be a key component.