Speaking in his press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Deepdale, Lee Bowyer spoke about his new contract negotiations, players returning from injury and looked ahead to facing Preston North End.
Below are some of the talking points…
On his own contract negotiations…
“There were some good positive conversations yesterday evening and this morning so we’re nearly there. There's just a couple of tiny things that need to be adjusted and I think we’re there. It’s very good news, for me and my team because we’ve worked hard so it's positive regarding the contract and I’m happy with what I’m hearing.
"The most important thing for me now is concentrating on the game and preparing for that, so that's what I am going to concentrate on from now until then. As I said, there’s a couple of things that need tidying up so it shouldn’t take long, but the game is the priority for me.
“I wouldn’t say I’m relieved [to have it sorted], but I’m happy because I want to be part of this club moving forward and that’s been obvious from day one. Like I said, me and my team have worked hard and I think that we deserved to be treated the same as other people in other clubs, so that’s all we’ve ever asked for and it looks like that’s going to happen."
On players beginning to return from injury…
“Obviously, Jonny [Williams] came back into the fold, and Tomer [Hemed] and Jake [Forster-Caskey], the weekend just gone against West Brom. Adding to that, [Erhun] Oztumer has trained this week and Josh Cullen’s trained with us for the first time today, he’s been doing stuff outside, but he’ll trained with us today and tomorrow so he could be in the squad as well. So, we have two more senior players back in the squad.
“Chuks Aneke will be going to play with the U23s. Fitness-wise, he’s too far off it, so there no point in him just staying back here for the weekend when the U23s play on the Saturday so he might as well go play 45 minutes or 60 minutes there.
“Macauley Bonne will be out for a while, hamstring, so he’s not coming back in the next few weeks.
“Lyle’s still out injured, he’s outside running, so I don’t know how long until he’s back, it shouldn’t be long I don’t think. Again, we’ll have to do what we did last time he came back which is try to build him back in. We missed Lyle, but we also missed a lot of the other players that have been out so like I’ve said before they all play a valuable part."
On looking ahead to Preston North End on Saturday…
“I’ve watched some games and Preston have a certain way of playing and you have to respect them. They’re a very good side so it’s going to be tough.
“It’s a tough place to go, they’re strong, physical and they’ve got good players that can hurt you from nothing. When we played them at our place, we lost on a penalty. So, do I believe we can go to Preston and win? Of course I do. I believe in the players I have so I know they’re going to give 100 percent and whenever you do that you’ve got a chance. Is it going to be hard? Of course, it’s going to be hard, there are no easy games in this division. Their manager’s done great up there with the squad. They’ve slowly, but surely, built a steady championship squad and they keep increasing every year and getting better.
"We will respect them like we do every team but we’ll being going there to try to get all three points."