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Shrewsbury Town's Aiden O'Brien and Julien Da Costa edging closer to returns

Shrewsbury Town’s Julien Dacosta and Aiden O’Brien are edging closer to full fitness, but boss Steve Cotterill insists he won’t rush the pair back and risk longer term injuries.

Julien Da Costa of Shrewsbury Town and Carl Baker of AFC Telford United.
Julien Da Costa of Shrewsbury Town and Carl Baker of AFC Telford United.

Former Portsmouth striker O’Brien signed for the club in the summer, but his only appearance came as a late substitute in the opening day draw at Morecambe.

The striker underwent hip surgery and has been on the sidelines since, with Coventry loanee Dacosta also out with a hernia problem after making eight appearances in all competitions at the start of the campaign.

Dacosta had been a long-term target of Salop’s, having missed out on him in January.

However, although Cotterill couldn’t give a time frame on the when the pair will return to first-team action, he insisted the club won’t rush them and risk the pair breaking down with other injuries.

“Aiden O’Brien is getting closer and Julien Dacosta is getting closer, but what we have to do with these guys is make sure they don’t break down,” explained Cotterill.

“That is really important, that we don’t have any longer term injuries.

“We are due to have a staff meeting where I want to discuss where we think they are actually at, with all the staff, physios, sports science. Because if they are ready we need to make sure they are right. We’ve got a meeting pencilled in for that.”

Another player who has recently come off the treatment table and back into the first-team fold is Elliott Bennett.

The experienced right-sided player made his competitive return in the recent Papa John’s Trophy defeat to Port Vale before coming on as a substitute in the victory over Burton Albion last weekend. And Cotterill has paid tribute to the ex-Blackburn man for the hard work he put into getting back to fitness and force his way back in, and to his medical staff for their work in getting 33-year-old back into the first-team fold.

“With Elliott, it was important to get him back on the pitch last week, and it was important for him to play in that Papa John’s game,” added the Salop boss.

“He was OK (after Saturday), he has done a lot of work to be fair to get himself back, and he had been out quite a while.

“So there’s been plenty of work by him and the physios, they worked really hard on him.

“And Elliott has worked his way back in and we are really pleased with him and for him.”

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