George Nurse hopes clean bill of health can give Walsall boost

George Nurse’s return from injury could be the attacking force Walsall need in order to get back on track.

George Nurse scores.
George Nurse scores.

At left-back the Bristol City loanee was proving to be a threat with his overlapping forward runs and ability to dribble with the ball – his impressive goal away at Bradford in October a major highlight.

A tendon injury kept him out for 13 games throughout November and December before his return on the last game of the year.

Although the 21-year-old needs time to get back up to speed – a fruitful partnership with Wes McDonald could be on the horizon.

“We haven’t played together that much but hopefully with more training and playing together we can create that bond and be a real threat in League Two,” Nurse said.

It certainly has potential. McDonald, who often cuts inside on his favoured right foot, could benefit from an overlapping run to create space or a passing option.

If Nurse’s return to full fitness can coincide with McDonald’s improving form, they could be a force in the fourth tier.

Injuries to fellow left-backs Zak Jules and Callum Cockerill-Mollett have left Walsall short-staffed in that department. As Nurse was also sidelined, right-backs Cameron Norman and Hayden White had to fill in, as well as player-coach Mat Sadler, who played left-back earlier in his career.

The potential lack of competition could give Nurse an opportunity to stake his claim.

“A bit of competition is always healthy but there’s not really anyone else there at the moment,” he added.

“It gives me a chance to get some more games under my belt.

“You want to be out there and be the one playing at left-back but you have to be supportive of the boys.

“I wish every player to do well when they’re on the pitch.

“I’m delighted to be back and be in that position.”

Meanwhile, fellow full-back White admits he still needs time to be ‘firing on all cylinders’ as he recovers from a previous fitness battle.

The 25-year-old only made 11 appearances for Mansfield last season after breaking his leg in early 2019.

After six months without football last summer, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the right-back has needed time to find his feet since joining Walsall in September. So far this season, the form of Norman has limited him to 10 appearances and White insists he is still fighting that fitness battle.

“I’ve still got a way to go to be firing on all cylinders, but I’m happy to be playing,” he said. “I had the injury before the lockdown too, so it’s been a long time for me.

“The gaffer has been fantastic with me to be honest, putting me in and taking me out at the right time.

“I’m really grateful for that and the opportunity to be here in the first place.

“Norms has been very good this season but I’m happy to help when called upon.

“I’ve still got a way to go to be firing on all cylinders but I’m happy to be playing.

“Whether that’s right-back, left-back or centre-back – I’m just happy to be on the pitch.”

White joined the club at the same time as Emmanuel Osadebe, nicknamed ‘Paddy’, and he says the club have helped them both settle in.

“Everyone has been really good with me,” White added. “There’s a good bit of banter in the changing room. The boys have been good.

“I came in at the same time as Paddy and I’m sure he’s enjoying it just as much as me.”

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