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Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Isco blow for reeling Real Madrid

In, outs and injury doubts for this week's matches

Real Madrid must make do without Isco for the next month
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Isco absence could be a Real problem

Selling Cristiano Ronaldo always looked a big risk for Real Madrid and their lack of depth may be exposed with attacking midfielder Isco set to miss a month after undergoing an appendix operation.

Isco missed Real's 3-0 loss away to Sevilla on Wednesday and was quickly joined on the sidelines by left-back Marcelo, who hobbled off with a calf strain.

The defeat was more down to poor defending than a lack of creativity but Isco's absence looks a major blow, given the demanding schedule which continues with Saturday's derby at home to Atletico Madrid.

Some of the slack from Ronaldo's departure has been taken up by Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, who top Real's league goals charts with four and three.

But Isco came up with key goals in the 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao and the 3-0 victory over Roma and his match-winning abilities are going to be missed.


No end on sight for Bradford's injury woes

Bradford manager David Hopkin made just three changes to his team for Tuesday's EFL Trophy clash at home to Everton Under-21s but his selection was borne out of weakness rather than strength.

Hopkin's options have been constrained by the absences of ten senior players – Josh Wright, Kelvin Mellor, Jake Reeves, Alex Jones, Joe Riley, Luca Colville, Ben Wilson, Hope Akpan, Adam Chicksen and Danny Devine - and none of them were even fit enough to make the bench in midweek.

Mellor featured in the pre-match warm-up on Tuesday and could be the closest to returning, but Bradford look like being stretched once again as they prepare for Saturday's home game against Bristol Rovers.

The injury-hit Bantams have lost their last five league games although they had a success of sorts against Everton's youngsters as they drew the game 0-0 and prevailed 6-5 in a shootout.


Tide is turning for Swans

Ten days ago Swansea were without senior central midfielders Leroy Fer, Tom Carroll and Jay Fulton for a Sky Bet Championship fixture at Stoke, but they are all in contention to face QPR in Wales on Saturday.

Carroll and Fulton returned to the squad for last week's 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough and Fer has joined them in full training after shaking off a groin strain.

Swansea are further boosted by the return to fitness of on-loan Manchester City attacker Bersant Celina (ankle).

Celina and Fulton were influential players in the Swans' bright start to the season and their involvement could be key as Graham Potters' men seek to end a three-match winless run.


Fit Phillips could provide a fillip for Albion

West Brom made ten changes for the EFL Cup clash at home to Crystal Palace on Tuesday and their fringe players failed to shine as the Premier League side ran out 3-0 winners.

Baggies' manager Darren Moore will be eager to reinstate his first- choice players for their league match at Preston but he is sweating on the fitness of key man Matt Phillips.

The wing-back has netted four goals in nine league starts but limped off during last Saturday's 2-0 victory at home to Millwall.

Phillips' pace and power are crucial on Albion's right flank and he would be a big loss if he fails to recover in time.


Yeovil stretched before Crawley trip

Yeovil moved into the Sky Bet League Two playoff positions with a 1-1 draw at home to MK Dons on Tuesday but it came at a cost.

On-loan Norwich winger Diallang Jaiyesimi and Omar Sowumni came off with unspecified injuries and look like being major doubts for their trip to Crawley.

Both are regulars with Jaiyesimi having started all nine league games this season and Sowumni starting the last eight.

Sowumni's absence could leave the Glovers stretched at the back because fellow centre-back Gary Warren has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury.


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Isco's absence looks a major blow, given the demanding schedule which continues with Saturday's derby at home to Atletico Madrid
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