Previewing the match against his former employers, Hoops boss Neil Lennon gave an update on the fitness of his players following the international break.
Lennon said: “We’ve no fresh injuries from the internationals which is great. We’re really pleased to have them back in good spirits.
“Jeremie Frimpong is fine; there’s no ligament damage, and he’s been back training for a few weeks now.
“Kristoffer Ajer may not be fit for tomorrow but definitely this week, whether it be Sparta Prague or Ross County. He’s started training and feeling good but tomorrow’s too soon for him.”
Declaring the clash in the Capital an “important game”, Lennon added: “We’ve got a massive run of games now. It’s good to have a healthy squad, and introduce some players back.
“If we can pick up where we left off, I’ll be pleased.”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We’re more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.If you haven’t already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Bloemfontein Celtic coach John Maduka is fretting over the fitness of goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane and midfielder Lantshene Phalane, ahead of meeting Orlando Pirates in Wednesday’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) match at Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium.
Mabokgwane might not face his former club after lasting 66 minutes in Sunday’s 1-1 MTN8 semi-final, first leg draw away at SuperSport United on Sunday.
It was a double injury blow after Phalane played just 28 minutes of the match and before being taken off complaining of pain on his groin.
“I have not met the medical team yet and I am not sure of [Phalane’s] situation. I just heard that Jackson has been taken to hospital but Phalane is still with the team‚” said Maduka as per Sowetan Live.
“I have not gotten the [medical] reports yet to see how bad the injuries are. Yeah we will first check you know if there might be some few knocks here and there.
“It is very important for us to introduce the fresh legs. We have been playing every three days‚ so it is very important to go to the game against Pirates also refreshed a little bit.
“There might be some changes‚ one or two or three so that the team can be able to compete on Wednesday [against Pirates].”
Given Mashinkinya came on for Phalane on Sunday and could step in again if the midfielder fails to recover in time for the Pirates match.
A 1-1 draw against Golden Arrows and a 1-0 defeat by Swallows FC characterise Celtic’s PSL campaign so far.
Celtic host the Buccaneers who arrive in Bloemfontein on a high after convincingly beating Kaizer Chiefs 3-0 in the MTN8 semi-final, first leg match on Saturday.
Pirates are expecting forward Frank Mhango to be back after the Malawi forward missed the Chiefs match due to injury.
They will be without coach Josef Zinnbauer who has been granted leave to travel back to Germany to attend to his hospitalised son.
The Soweto giants are yet to win a league match after drawing their two matches games against AmaZulu and Stellenbosch on 1-1 scorelines.
Returning Odsonne Edouard could make Celtic’s flight to France today.
But Hoops boss Neil Lennon has revealed defender Christopher Jullien has been sent to Germany for specialist back treatment as he faces an extended period out.
Lennon also confessed James Forrest may be out longer than anticipated with a delay in the healing of a fractured ankle.
Striker Edouard is slowly building back up to full speed after he tested positive for coronavirus two weeks ago.
He is ahead of Nir Bitton, who also tested positive in the international break, but Lennon hopes both will make the squad for Lille.
He said: “Odsonne has trained for the last few days and Nir also trained, although his sessions are a little bit modified.
“We’ll see how they are on Wednesday, but I’m hoping they will both be fit to travel.
“It’s a welcome boost having Odsonne back, but I’m not expecting him to hit the ground running. The same goes for Nir.
“We’re getting a few bodies back now so the squad is starting to look stronger again.”
It’s a different tale with Jullien and Forrest.
Lennon said: “He [Jullien] is over in Germany having intensive treatment on his back, but we’re looking at a few weeks from now before he returns to training.
“James is seeing a specialist about his ankle.
“It hasn’t healed as we’d hoped and he may need more time in a protective boot or it may need something else entirely. We’ll know more in the next day or two.”