Players coming back from injury should be greeted as a positive, but it is causing a conundrum for Adam Murray, says Duncan Browne...
Whether you’re in the hotseat at the Camp Nou with 99,000 angry fans swirling white handkerchiefs in the air or the joint boss of AFC Nags Head under nines, frantically calling round on a Saturday night looking for two unregistered kids willing to make the numbers up the next morning, choices have to be made.
Rightly or wrongly, gaffers all over the globe are judged by how they juggle internal politics, bond with and utilise players that they did not want to sign and how they choose to shape up against a team with the kind of wage bill that looks the cost of security for one of Donald Trump’s golfing trips.
It’s not right. But it’s the nature of job and all managers go into a new club knowing that’s how things will be.
But right now, Adam Murray is looking at a bizarre selection crisis that is certainly none of his making.
After Saturday’s goalless draw with Brackley, the Boston United boss confirmed that there were a number of positives on the injury front.
Jason St Juste was back in training. Gregg Smith continues to improve following that fractured ankle.
Good news all round.
But then he also added that Joe Burgess has returned to training, while Grant Roberts and Herve Pepe-Ngoma also continue to get stronger each week.
And this is where things get a bit odd.
Roberts and Pepe-Ngoma haven’t featured for the club since September, while Burgess suffered his break on October 8.
With Murray not replacing Dennis Greene until December, he is now attempting to run the rule over players he has not seen play a match before.
It’s similar for Joe Maguire, who went off injured in Murray’s first game in charge at FC United and hasn’t played for him since.
“They’re likely to be fit, but whether they can get in the team or not is a different story,” was how the Pilgrims boss responded when asked if we were likely to see any of his walking wounded back in action before the end of the campaign.
It was tongue in cheek, but a fair statement from somebody who wants to end their season on a high, and currently has the comfort of knowing he has a settled and performing squad.
But the conundrum is what Murray does with those coming back from injury.
Roberts was integral to United’s sucess at the other end of the table last season, Burgess was establishing himself in the team before his injury and Pepe-Ngoma showed flashes of being a wonderful midfield stopper before being forced into becoming a makeshift centre back.
There’s no doubt Murray already knows the direction he wants his squad to go next season.
He will have identified summer targets and made plans about playing style and personnel.
But the bizarre injury list thrown up this season adds a strange side story.
Does he take a punt on players for next season on hearsay?
Could he offer those coming back from injury the chance to impress in pre-season?
Should he risk a strong finish to the season by trying to take a look at players who aren’t 100 per cent?
Murray is the man who makes the decisions, but I doubt he’ll find himself having to make such odd ones again.