Nigel: Injury Will Make Cork Stronger

By SFC Media Thu 27 Sep Club

Nigel Adkins says Jack Cork will be out for "a couple of weeks" after suffering a knee injury in the closing stages of the win over Sheffield Wednesday.

The unlucky midfielder was making his maiden First Team appearance of the season after recovering from the ankle problem he sustained in early August.

Cork limped off ten minutes from time after treatment on his knee, and the gaffer revealed this afternoon that the 23 year-old now faces a spell on the sidelines.

"Jack Cork is not going to be available for the weekend or for a couple of weeks," Nigel said ahead of this weekend's trip to Everton. 

"He picked up a knee injury the other night in the victory over Sheffield Wednesday so he's going to be in a brace for a couple of weeks. 

"We've got a great medical team here and we'll work through the rehabilitation process in a diligent order. 

"It's been stop-start for Jack – he's been away with Team GB so he hasn't had a pre-season with ourselves and didn't play any games really, then he came back and picked up an injury at Bristol City. 

"He recovered from that and now he's picked up another injury, but it will make him stronger. Southampton is a good place so we'll keep his spirits up so he'll work harder, and when he comes back he will be raring to go."

But, while Adkins will be without Cork at Goodison Park, he has some more positive selection dilemmas on his mind following that midweek win over the Owls.

The gaffer made nine changes for that win, with Jay Rodriguez coming into the side to score his first and second goals for the Club since a summer move from Burnley.

And Adkins says that bodes well for the weekend, especially in terms of Saints' ability to find the back of the net on the back of last Saturday's 4-1 demolition of Aston Villa.

"We know we can score goals because we've demonstrated that, and to score four at the weekend is very pleasing," he said. 

"Then we played on Tuesday and Jay Rodriguez scored two very good ones as well, so we know we've got goals within the team. 

"We've got a squad of players and great competition for places because we're looking to deal with injuries – like, for example, Jack Cork's – and suspensions that will probably come along as the season goes on. 

"We've got a squad of players who are all want to play in the team, and we need to have that strength – not just in the starting XI but for impact coming off the bench."

Another department looking particularly strong is that of the goalkeepers following the signing of former Celtic and Fiorentina stopper Artur Boruc.

The Polish international joins Paulo Gazzaniga – who started Saints' last two games – and Kelvin Davis in battling for the number-one jersey at St Mary's, providing Adkins with the level of competition he has been searching for.

"It's something we looked at through the whole of the summer," Nigel admitted. 

"Kelvin Davis has been outstanding for us – he's an experienced goalkeeper, Club Captain and very important to what we're doing here at Southampton. 

"He started the campaign then young Paulo Gazzaniga has come in at 20 years of age – he has loads and loads of potential, and we want to extract that from him and develop him into an exceptionally top-class goalkeeper. 

"But, when you look at the potential for injuries or suspensions, it's important that you have three goalkeepers," he continued. 

"We've had [Under 21 stopper] Cody Cropper, but he's just had a knee operation yesterday afternoon so we're suddenly down on numbers of goalkeepers. 

"We had a great opportunity with Artur available because he's a free transfer and wasn't fixed up with anybody, so we've brought him in until the end of the season. 

"He's a vastly experienced goalkeeper and I think that's important – we've got competition for places, and we've got experience and potential. 

"I'd like to think the three goalkeepers we've got gives us a situation where we can cover the demands of playing in the Barclays Premier League."

From Artur to Arthur: Adkins also took time out to pass on his congratulations to Team Captain Adam Lallana, whose partner gave birth to their first child – Arthur Michael Lallana – yesterday.

The gaffer also observed how parenthood can often change how footballers approach their career and lifestyle, saying: "Being settled and stable makes you concentrate on being professional rather than being out gallivanting until the small hours of the evening! 

"That's normally what you do when you're young, but you get a bit older and realise you need to settle down and be professional to prolong your career and get the best out of yourself.

"Great congratulations to the three of them (Lallana, his partner and their baby). Adam's got a smashing young son and he can now look forward to playing against Everton at the weekend."

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