Relief for Hasselbaink as midfielder McWilliams suffers ‘a deep cut’, but no fracture

Shaun McWilliams was stretchered off the pitch on Tuesday night, but his injury is not as bad as first feared (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Shaun McWilliams was stretchered off the pitch on Tuesday night, but his injury is not as bad as first feared (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Cobblers midfielder Shaun McWilliams has not suffered serious injury and should be set to return to action ‘within a couple of weeks’, according to boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

The teenager was stretchered off the pitch at Sixfields midway through the first half of Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Portsmouth.

He looked in some discomfort after kicking the raised foot of a Pompey player, and there were fears the academy product had suffered a bad injury.

But Town manager Hasselbaink revealed McWilliams has suffered no more than a deep cut and bruising, and is set be back in action before the end of the month.

There is also good news on attacker Sam Hoskins who is ‘very near’ to a first team return, but the prognosis is not so good for John-Joe O’Toole, who won’t be available until October at the earliest, or Sam Foley, who is ‘still has a bit to go’ before making his Cobblers debut.

But it is good news on McWilliams, and a relief for Hasselbaink, who said: “It is good news. There is no fracture, but there is a very deep cut.

“It will need stitches, but he shouldn’t be out for as long as we thought, a maximum two weeks.

“It was always in my mind that hopefully Shaun is going to be okay, and luckily he is because he has done ever so well in the two matches.

“It would be a pity to lose him now, for longer, but luckily it is just a cut.

“Obviously, it is a cut on his foot, so we have to have a look at how much pain he will be in, but normally it will heal quickly, close up, and hopefully in two weeks he will be available again.”

Another of town’s key midfielders, O’Toole, has yet to feature this season due to a groin problem, and after he underwent minor surgery last week, Hasselbaink admitted it is still going to be a little while before he he is fit and available.

“John-Joe is going to be out for a few more weeks, at least another three weeks,” said the Town boss.

“He is recovering well (from the operation), and I think on Tuesday he needs to go to get a check-up, but is he going in the right way.”

Hoskins has not played since damaging cruciate knee ligaments in January, but Hasselbaink says he is nearing a first team return.

“Sam Hoskins is close,” said the former Chelsea and Leeds United striker. “He is training and trained with a small group on Tuesday morning.

“On Wednesday he will train with the first team, and he looks okay.”

Foley is an other player yet to feature this season after he picked up a knee injury in the pre-season clash with Kettering Town in July, and Hasselbaink said: “Sam is still running with the fitness coach, so he still has a bit to go.”