Midfielder could potentially feature in derby match
City boss Paul Tisdale has stated that midfield dynamo Tommy Doherty might have a chance of being involved in the Devon Derby at Home Park.
The 34-year-old hasn’t featured in a City shirt for almost a month, after back trouble meant his withdrawal at half-time during the Grecians’ trip to Bristol Rovers. Doherty had been in imperious form during the weeks preceding his injury, and Tis will be weighing up the option of using him in this fixture.
“Tommy’s back in training,” said Tis. “You have to make a decision with a player like Tommy, who’s into his mid-thirties, who has missed two or three weeks and just started training with a bad back.”
As the team has coped more than adequately in Doherty’s absence – including an excellent 4-1 win last time out against Capital One Cup finalists Bradford – Tis won’t be making any rash choices in the squad selection. Another injury forced Doherty to miss out in the previous meeting between the sides at St James Park earlier this campaign, and whether he features or not is likely to be decided amongst the context of the remainder of the season.
“When he starts to play again, and when you select him, is a difficult decision,” Tis explained. “He’s had a couple of days training, and he’s fit to be considered. But then I have to look at the propensity for further injury, having not trained much. And also the fact that we had a convincing, strong win in our last game as well – and do I need to make that change.
“But it’s good that he’s back training, and if not this weekend then possibly the week after. But I know Tommy wants to play, so there’s no doubting that with him.”
Paul admitted that he would love to have the Bristol-born man readily available and perfectly match-fit. But there’s no doubt in Tis’s mind of Doherty’s willingness to be involved again sooner rather than later, so the City boss will be weighing up his options carefully when he selects his 18-man squad for the 1pm kick-off.
“Tommy loves playing football, and he attacks every game that he plays in. I think that’s why he’s become such a firm favourite with our supporters. In ordinary circumstances, Tommy would be perfect for this game.
“I’ve got to have a balanced view of this game, and the seven remaining games as a whole, to make sure we accrue enough points over those games to reach at least the play-offs, if not automatic promotion – and that’s our goal. So when you’re deciding about selecting players that have been injured, you’ve got to have a balanced view.”