Ngog The Only Doubt

French striker to be given right up until kick-off to prove his fitness ahead of the game at Burnley

David Ngog is Wanderers’ only fitness doubt heading into the opening game of the season against Burnley at Turf Moor.

The French striker has endured a frustrating pre-season with a back problem preventing him from playing in a number of games – though he did impress and score in the opening 45 minutes at Morecambe.

His only other pre-season outing came at Fratton Park against Portsmouth, though he was forced from the field of play on 25 minutes.

And speaking on Thursday morning, the manager said he would give the number nine striker every opportunity to prove his fitness ahead of the trip to Burnley.

“The only player that we have any concerns about is David,” Coyle said. “He’s had an ongoing niggle in his back. Everybody else is fit and available.

“Adam Bogdan and Sam Ricketts have been away on international duty with young Michael O’Halloran and Gregg Wylde with Scotland under-21s as well. I’m led to believe everything’s okay with them so that would only leave David being the only one who’s had any sort of problem.

“We’re hoping he can train with the group before the end of the week. We’ll then assess it from there.”

Should Ngog fail to win his fitness battle, Coyle still has an impressive ensemble of attacking options from which to choose.

Skipper Kevin Davies, now entering his tenth season with the club, featured in all eight of the club’s pre-season games whilst Olympian Marvin Sordell or Arsenal loanee Benik Afobe could be selected to lead the line.

Afobe in particular impressed against Tranmere Rovers, when he bagged an impressive 17-minute hat-trick.

“That’s why I brought him to the football club,” the manager added: “Whether David is available or not, Benik Afobe has shown his quality and he’s shown that he is right in the mix with a view to picking teams and there’s no changing that.

“The reason we brought him to the football club is the belief we had in his ability and he’s a young player that will continue to get better. He’s someone we’re delighted to have here at the football club.”
Read Time: 2 mins