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Slow progress to get Rory Holden ready for Walsall return

Walsall boss Matt Taylor insists getting long-term absentee Rory Holden match-ready has been made more challenging by Covid restrictions.

Rory Holden
Rory Holden

Holden, who only played two competitive games in 2021 due to knee problems, is back training with the group at Essington.

The Saddlers had hoped to give him some minutes for the reserves before reintroducing him to the first-team fold, but Taylor says the ‘mixing of bubbles’ would pose too much of an infection risk.

It means they will now have to look to get him back up to speed with ‘pitch geography’ solely in training.

Taylor explained: “It’s difficult at the moment because we’ve got the Covid issues to deal with now.

“The mixing of bubbles, we can’t put what we’re doing here at the training ground at risk in any way, shape or form. So, it’s difficult at the moment.

“Rory is back with the group, and it’s great to have him back training.

“It’s a case of making sure that all the work he’s done with the physios and fitness coaches over the last two months, he’s able to put that into fruition on the football pitch.

“It’ll be a difficult one for Rory as he’s got to get himself back with pitch geography, having bodies around him and understanding the game again.

“When you have a period of time on the sidelines – and I did on more than one occasion – you just want to get on the pitch.

“But there’s getting on the pitch and then there’s being ready.”

Taylor added on the 24-year-old: “Our job now is to make sure we’ve got a fit Rory Holden for the rest of the season.

“We know if we’ve got that, then we’ve got a very capable, talented footballer at our club.”

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