The pre-match press conferences for Double Gameweek 27 of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) have begun to take place.
As usual, we’ll be bringing you all the key quotes and injury updates that you need for your teams over the coming 24 hours or so.
Five Premier League bosses held pressers on Thursday, with updates from the 15 other head coaches set to come on Friday.
Among those facing reporters on Friday will be Mikel Arteta, who will hopefully bring us a further update on Martin Odegaard after the Norwegian midfielder and Kieran Tierney reportedly missed the midweek UEFA Europa League tie against Sporting due to illness.
KEY UPDATES FROM THURSDAY
We only heard from the managers of one of the Gameweek 27 ‘doublers’ on Thursday, Brentford’s Thomas Frank.
He had little to report on the injury front, with everyone fully fit bar back-up goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha (ankle) and bit-part winger Keane Lewis-Potter (knee).
Lewis-Potter will be out for up to two months with a knee injury sustained during a recent behind-closed-doors game but Strakosha is back in training and nearing a return.
James Maddison is “available” for Leicester City’s match against Chelsea, although Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers admitted that the midfielder is still “managing an issue”.
Maddison has been plagued by knee niggles for much of the calendar year but lasted 90 minutes against Southampton last weekend.
“With every player, they’re never normally 100 per cent. There’s usually something. He’s managing an issue which still allows him to perform. Against Southampton, he was outstanding. He showed that quality that’s needed in a game. He’s available to play and contribute for us.” – Brendan Rodgers on James Maddison
Jonny Evans (thigh) could come back into the matchday squad after four months out, while Harvey Barnes is hoping to shake off an ankle injury sustained in Gameweek 26.
“Jonny has trained so all being well he should come into the squad for the weekend, which is good news for us.
“We’re hopeful [Harvey] might well make it. We won’t know until tomorrow so we’ll see where that’s at.” – Brendan Rodgers
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (hamstring) is back in training ahead of the Brentford game this weekend, while left-back Vitalii Mykolenko could also be available for selection after overcoming the illness that saw him miss Sunday’s 2-2 draw away to Nottingham Forest.
Nathan Patterson (knee) completed 90 minutes for the under-21s on Monday and is building match fitness but Andros Townsend (ACL) remains unavailable.
“Dom is in and around it again, with us training. We are still making a decision on him being truly right to come back in. [On this weekend] it’s early yet, he’s just got on the grass with us, but he’s done a lot of rehab – the stats and facts – and the way he’s feeling is good. It’s positive signs that’s for sure.”
“Myko is just illness. We’re making a decision on his strength. He is just coming out of illness but has trained today. Patto has played another game, but he’s still just getting that true match sharpness.
“[Townsend] isn’t close and he’s had a knee injury with some setbacks. It seems to be calming now and he’s in a better place with it now.” – Sean Dyche
Adam Forshaw (hip) and Stuart Dallas (knee) remain out but Luis Sinisterra (muscle) and Rodrigo Moreno (ankle) have been back in training this week, so are nearing a return.
There were quotes on Patrick Bamford (leg) but none concerning his fitness; last week, however, Javi Gracia said that the injury-prone striker “should be ready” for the game against Brighton and Hove Albion.
“They are doing something with the team. Some long-term injured players need a process to adapt and to come back with the team. They are doing something with the team and in the next training session, we will evaluate where they are, if they can help us in the next game or if it’s better to wait.
“I think we need all the players. Of course in the last game we didn’t have many other options to substitute some attacking players but now we are working with more players and I suppose if everything is right in the next training session, we’ll have more options for the next game.” – Javi Gracia on Rodrigo Moreno and Luis Sinisterra
Willy Boly (hamstring), Scott McKenna (hamstring), Dean Henderson (thigh), Giulian Biancone (ACL) and Omar Richards (leg) remain unavailable but Cheikhou Kouyate (hamstring), Taiwo Awoniyi (groin) and Moussa Niakhate (hamstring) are closing in on a return.
Steve Cooper had said after last week’s draw with Everton that the trio were “not far away” and, in Thursday’s presser, again mentioned that Kouyate was “close”.
The Forest boss had also previously said that Niakhate could be on the bench this weekend.
“I don’t think there are any fresh injuries. Some boys are getting close. Chiekhou has done a little bit of training this week, so he is close. We didn’t risk him today when the snow came down, because it would have been silly to do that.
““The boys are getting closer, but nothing that is really going to affect this weekend. But as the days and weeks go by it becomes a bit more positive. The quicker we can get some guys back, the better.” – Steve Cooper