Grimsby Town boss Paul Hurst has expressed caution around the impending return of attackers Otis Khan and Donovan Wilson.
Speaking to the Grimsby Telegraph, the Mariners’ boss suggested they would both need time to settle before reaching their full potential. That’s not good news for the midtable side, who have shown defensive strength, conceding just five goals, but haven’t had the attacking impetus to push up the table.
Hurst admitted that Khan and Wilson were not expected to instantly return to the side as they approach readiness for training.
“Even once they get back training, because of the time they have been out, they’ve both only had small bits of pre-season. The expectation around their readiness will have to be managed both internally and externally,” said the former Ipswich and Shrewsbury boss.
“They might end up being named in a squad, but the reality may be that they’ll only be able to come on for a short amount of time. That’s better than where we’re currently at, but they won’t be ready for selection in the starting line-up as soon as they’ve recovered.”
28-year-old Khan joined the Mariners from Leyton Orient following their promotion back into the Football League, and he played a role in their march to the FA Cup quarter-final last season. Wilson signed for the club over the summer after a stint with Sutton United but has yet to kick a ball in anger for the Lincolnshire side.
They’ve recently been joined in the treatment room by another summer recruit, Charles Vernam. He joined the club after a spell with League One Lincoln City but recently suffered a thigh muscle tear, likely to keep him out for months.
Grimsby have a huge amount of potential, despite a disappointing deadline day and the injury blows. They’re tight at the back, and if they can find creativity going forward, they could be knocking on the door of the top seven.
Khan is going to be key – the former Tranmere and Mansfield winger can be a big threat in League Two, and with Abo Eisa and Danny Rose looking for creativity to turn into goals, getting him back is massively important.
This could be a big season for the Mariners as they seek to use the momentum and positivity from their cup run to bounce up the league. They were once a staple of the second tier but haven’t graced that level for 20 years now. Hurst will be hoping to correct that, but he needs fit players to do so.