Bodvarsson Back As Whites Ready To Go

Wanderers are close to a clean bill of health for their season opener with striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson back to challenge for a place.

Bodvarsson – who finished last season with four goals in seven games – missed last weekend's final friendly with a minor foot injury.

But the Icelander has trained this week in preparation for Saturday’s trip to Ipswich Town.

And with midfield men Josh Sheehan and Lloyd Isgrove also closing in on a return from long-term injury, Wanderers boss Ian Evatt will have a strong hand to play at Portman Road and beyond.

“Josh and Lloyd are almost back and ready to play,” confirmed Evatt.

“They’re in very late stages of recovery and rehab now, so they will be both by playing in a B team game, I would think, within the next couple of weeks and then they will fully back available.

Image removed.

“Everyone else is available for selection, apart from Eoin Toal who’s probably a few days from being able to join in with the group.

“Everybody else is fit and ready to go.

“Jon Dadi has been training all week and had no recurrence of the slight foot injury he had, so he’s ready to play and we’re very much looking forward to it.”

Recent arrival Toal will have to wait for a debut as the defender looks to overcome a slight knock, while the return of Sheehan and Isgrove – who have both been out of action since last November – will add further depth to a healthy-looking squad.

With four new arrivals this summer – including the return on loan of goalkeeper James Trafford – Wanderers look well equipped for the League One challenge ahead.

And Evatt admits selection for the curtain-raiser at Ipswich is a tricky one.

“Since I’ve been a manager – and it’s my fifth season now – it’s been the hardest team to pick,” he added.

“And it’s going to be a tough 18 to pick because there will be a very good senior player left off the bench.

Image removed.

“It won’t be for reasons we don’t think they’re important or good enough to make a difference.

“It will be literally be the balance of the bench and how that needs to look.

“There will be some disappointed lads but, as I’ve said to them all, it’s hopefully a 50-plus game season and everyone is going to have to play a part.”

Of the 18 players named on the team sheet, up to 16 can play an active part with five substitutions allowed in the EFL this season.

And Evatt hopes the change – which follows on from a temporary ruling during the Whites’ 2020/21 promotion-winning season – will play to Wanderers’ strengths.

“It was a huge help in the pandemic, that season,” said Evatt.

“Five subs really helped – especially if you’ve got lots of attacking options on the bench.

“You can bring players on and freshen things up all the time.

“When you play the pressing game that we do, there can be a drop-off towards the end of games.

“If you can bring on a fresh five who are not necessarily a drop-off from the first XI, that’s a huge thing for us to be able to do.”

“Hopefully we can keep everyone in one piece and keep the options there for the entire season.”

Read Time: 3 mins