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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Tuesday, March 13th 2018

City being cautious over 'warrior' Baker - McAllister

Nathan Baker remains an injury concern as City prepare to face Ipswich Town at Ashton Gate this weekend.

With nine Sky Bet Championship fixtures remaining and a play-off push still in hand, City are keen not to overplay their stars and risk further complications.

However, a number of long-term injured players have either come back or are close to a return to the first team, as the season end draws closer. 

Defender Baker was not 100% match fit last weekend and Lee Johnson had no choice but to replace him at half-time in Saturday's 0-0 draw at Burton Albion.

And he remains a doubt for the clash with the Tractor Boys, as Jamie McAllister revealed to BCTV.

WE HAVE TO BE CAUTIOUS AND SENSIBLE

The assistant head coach said: "We’re monitoring him day to day, We have to make sure he’s right before we put him in contention for Saturday.

"Once or twice recently we’ve had to take him off and we don’t want that to happen again. He’s doing everything he can to be fit because he’s a warrior; he wants to play but he has to be cautious and sensible as well with nine games to go.

"We don’t want him to rush him back for two games and then he misses the final seven. We’d rather rest him for a couple of games and have him ready for the last seven, so we have to judge it day by day."

PLAYERS STILL RETURNING

The likes of Eros Pisano and Milan Djuric also played in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Cheltenham Town on Tuesday (March 13th), two players who have recently been reintroduced to competitive football, following their respective injuries.

City won 4-3 with Djuric scoring a brace while Loïs Diony and Niclas Eliasson also on the scoresheet.

McAllister said: "It’s great to have the likes of Eros and Milan back and we have a few more still. Jens (Hegeler, knee) also played again and Callum (O’Dowda, ankle) isn’t far off.

"Gary O’Neil (knee) has had some gametime under his belt recently and we had a lot of boys playing who hasn’t had many minutes: Liam Walsh played well, Niclas Eliasson and Ryan Kent played, so It’s good to have them ready for when their chance in the first team comes.

"That [a team selection headache] is what the gaffer wants. The squad is coming together nicely and at the right time in the season."

WATCH: MCALLISTER AND DJURIC PRE-IPSWICH TOWN