Skibbe Prepares For Squad Selection In Light Of Injury Concerns
As Greek coach Michael Skibbe prepares to name his squad this week for the upcoming European playoff against Croatia, the German manager has all sorts of injury headaches to wrestle with.
This past week has been a mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly for Greek fans on the injury front.
The good news in the last couple days has been the news that Kostas Manolas should be fit to face off against the Croatians in the home and away fixtures to be played on November 9th and 12th.
Manolas had suffered a groin strain a couple weeks ago and was expected to miss about 5-6 weeks because of the injury. However, the Roma center-back was included in the squad to face Chelsea in the Champions’ League this midweek proving that he has recovered from the strain in record time. Thus, it can be expected that Skibbe can include Manolas in his plans.
Vasilis Torosidis’ participation in the pair of matches is still not 100% certain due to a hamstring problem. However, with the days passing the likelihood of the Bologna man being fit enough to be included in the squad is improving. Torosidis is expected to be named in the Bologna squad to play Crotone this weekend.
If the news regarding Manolas and Torosidis tilts toward the positive, the same can not be said of two other national team regulars. Tasos Donis is set to miss out thanks to a shoulder injury picked up during training for VfB Stuttgart. While some reports suggested that Donis had hopes of recovering in time, this past weekend it was confirmed that the young talent will certainly miss the Croatia matches.
Another blow on the injury front came this past week in Greek Super League play. Ethniki starter Petros Mantalos tore his ACL toward the end of the game between Panionios and AEK and will miss at least the next six months of the season. It is a cruel blow for the midfield maestro as far as his hopes of playing in the Playoffs against Croatia and his participation for AEK as they aim to challenge for the title.
Greek supporters will be hoping that the tide shifts as far as this recent compilation of injuries goes. Certainly this is not ideal to have this many problems in the lead-up to two gigantic matches that will determine Greece’s World Cup destiny. That said, it’s up to Skibbe and the rest of the squad to compensate for these absences in the matches against the Croatian team.