Injury bug bites Warren again
Bermuda will again be without the services of midfield ace Marco Warren for the Concacaf Nations League qualifying match against Sint Maarten at the National Stadium tonight.
The PHC player, last season’s Premier Division MVP, was forced to withdraw from Kyle Lightbourne’s squad after pulling his groin while training on Wednesday.
He also missed Bermuda’s 3-1 defeat by Aruba in their opening qualifying match in Curaçao last month after picking up an ankle injury while also training with the national squad.
“Unfortunately I can’t play after pulling my groin in the last play of practice,” Warren told The Royal Gazette.
“I went to the physiotherapist and got some treatment and felt a little better, but it’s hard for me even to jog right now, so I can only watch.
“I was excited and had a point to prove because I didn’t have a good game the last time I played for the national team a few months back and I was looking forward to making amends for that, at least in this game.”
Lightbourne’s injury concerns do not end with Warren, as London Steede-Jackson is another late omission after picking up a calf injury, while forwards Lejuan Simmons and Tevahn Tyrrell are both carrying niggling hamstring and knee injuries. They are to have a late fitness test to determine their availability.
Despite the setbacks, Lightbourne is confident Bermuda can come away with the desired result against a Sint Maarten side, who suffered a humbling 13-0 defeat against Haiti in their previous outing, and finally get their qualifying campaign on track.
“It’s a big game that is very important to us,” the former Coventry City striker said. “This is a huge game for us and we need to show the public that we mean business.
“We want to try and achieve our goals that we are setting for ourselves, so we need to win this game and win it in style.
“The morale is very high in the camp right now which I expect and most people expect. It’s an honour to play for your country and you should always remember that.”
Lightbourne has a general idea of what the visitors, situated 15 places below Bermuda in the Concacaf rankings, may bring to the table having reviewed video footage of their set up and performance against a rampant Haiti side.
“They played a 4-4-2 formation in their last match against Haiti,” Lightbourne observed.
“They sat back and made it difficult for Haiti for the first 15 minute or so of the game. But once Haiti scored their first goal, the floodgates opened up.
“They were prepared to defend but man for man they just weren’t as good as Haiti.
“They’re probably not going to come out that much. We will probably have a lot of the ball, but we have to use it quite well.
“We didn’t see any sort of offence from them because Haiti was that superior to them.
“First and foremost, we have to make sure that that’s all the same names that were in the previous team for them because they may have a different list.”
The Concacaf Nations League qualifying matches will determine the three divisions for the Nations League, which starts in September 2019, as well as the ten remaining Gold Cup spots.
Bermuda are also at home against El Salvador on November 16 before finishing their qualifying campaign away to Dominican Republic on March 24.
Kick-off tonight is at 7.30.
• Nathan Trott, the Bermudian goalkeeper, was an unused substitute for England Under-20 who edged Italy 2-1 in a home Euro Elite League contest at AFC Fylde in Lancashire yesterday.
The West Ham player has been capped fives times at under-20 level and was a member of the England squad that won the European Under-19 Championship in Georgia last year.
The Daily Mirror reported that city rivals Manchester United and Manchester City, and German side RB Leipzig have shown an interest in acquiring the services of Trott, who has 18 months remaining on his deal at West Ham.