As the intensity of the Championship picks up, particularly after the international breaks, dents start to appear in every squad.
Lee Bowyer has a well-balanced first team group and while there are options in some positions, in others there’s a drop off.
So workload management and injury avoidance will be key factors in making sure momentum can be retained and that the 2021/2022 season will indeed be a better one for the club.
But we know there are going to be bumps, bruises, strains and pulls – but hopefully no breakages or tears – so here’s Blues’ latest on that front. There might even be the odd suspension too.
Injury: Back problem
Target return date: To be confirmed
What we know: Roberts was taken off in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Peterborough. Blues were 2-0 down at the time and Lee Bowyer explained the situation after the game.
What’s been said: “Marc was a funny one, we thought it was something to do with his stomach, he had a scan but it wasn’t his stomach it was coming from his back and round the front,” Bowyer said after the draw with Preston.
“I know it sounds a bit funny but I am hopeful, nothing really showed on the scan, apart from this thing around the back. So I am hopeful he will be available for Tuesday.”
Target return date: Forest away (Oct 2)
What we know: Pedersen missed his first game of the season, the 0-0 draw with Preston on Saturday, after picking up a hamstring injury.
What’s been said: “Kristian had a little hamstring injury and if we are lucky he might be available for Forest but again we will analyse that and won’t be taking any risks because we have got the international break after that and then another two weeks.
“The Kristian one, Wednesday-Saturday is tough. He came on and trained and felt a little bit tight, he went in after the warm-up.”
“Maybe the long throw is how Robbo did his back, too many throws – and I am being serious, I think that might have played a part of it because of the rotation he did, the doc seems to think it could play a small part of it, hopefully he will be OK.”
Target return date: 4-6 weeks from early September. Perhaps West Brom away on October 15.
What we know: Sanchez has not started a Championship game this season – and now we know why, he’s been carrying an injury ‘for months’.
What’s been said: On September 6, Sanchez confirmed the situation on Instagram. “After many months with a lot of pain in my pubis (part of the pelvis) and after performing preventive treatment to try to improve, we decided that the best thing was to operate to feel 100% again,” he said.
“Honestly it was the best for me and for the team because I could not help giving the best of me. Now I will be away for a few weeks but knowing that I will return to my level and being 100% to achieve the goals this season, wanting to be able to feel that feeling of training and playing without pain and coming back stronger than ever.”
Lee Bowyer confirmed the 4-6 week prognosis on September 9.
Illness: Covid-19 recovery
Target return date: TBC
What we know: Etheridge was hit really hard by Covid-19 in preseason, returning from the preseason training camp in Scotland and ending up in hospital. He has played once, in the Carabao Cup loss to Fulham, but has not yet been involved in a Championship squad.
What’s been said:Etheridge spoke honestly about how he feared for his life when he was in hospital – which is why playing in the League Cup meant so much to him. He also admitted he had a way to go before being fully ready.
On September 9 Bowyer said: “Neil is still playing catch-up, you have to remember the six weeks he missed of preseason. I can’t put a timescale on Neil yet, he has just got to play catch-up, keep working hard and as soon as he gets there everyone will know.”
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Target return date: 9-12 months
What we know:The young striker suffered damage to his ACL and has had an operation. He’ll now begin the long road to recovery.
Ban: Three games
Target return date: West Brom away Friday, October 15
What we know: Gardner was shown a straight red card after a second half lunge at Nathan Thompson. He’ll miss the matches aganist Preston, QPR and Nottingham Forest.