Steve Bruce has been talking injuries, Joe Willock, pre-season plans and transfer links in his final press conference of the season at the Benton training base this morning.
Starting with Willock, Bruce has vowed to ‘test the resolve’ of Arsenal this summer – suggesting we’ll put together a bid for the 21-year-old Mikel Arteta said he’d be keeping in his presser earlier today.
On the fitness front, he’s confirmed that late checks will be made on Allan Saint-Maximin and Martin Dubravka after both picked up knocks in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Sheffield United, but insists he is expecting both to be fit for Sunday’s final day trip to Fulham.
Bruce also states that “everyone else is OK”, with Fabian Schar back from a 3-game ban and Joelinton and Joe Willock fit to play despite being forced off in midweek.
Elsewhere, Bruce has confirmed the club are looking at TWO summer training camps across pre-season – one in the UK and another in Portugal – also suggesting that our friendlies will be local after clashes with York, Harrogate and Peterborough have been revealed.
Last but not least, Bruce bemoaned the number of players linked last summer – saying he counted 150! – but did state that the club’s recruitment team have “got a few ideas together” when it comes to new arrivals.
Here’s what he had to say on all of the above:
Bruce on Joe Willock’s future:
“We will try to test their resolve.
“We will try our utmost.
“We must respect he’s Arsenal’s player and he’s 21.
“When you have six in six and you are the youngest player to do it, and he’s somebody else’s player so we are up against it.
“We will try our best.”
Bruce on ASM, Dubravka and Schar:
“We’ll see how they are today, Allan in particular and Martin Dúbravka.
“We think Martin is going to be OK, but I’ll know for definite at the end of training.
“Allan wasn’t quite sure if it was a kick, a strain, or a twist.”
“We expect them to be OK but we’ll not know 100% until they go out on the grass today.”
“Everybody else is OK. We’ve got Schär back after suspension, too.”
Bruce on pre-season plans:
“For me, the next week at the after the season is about making sure pre-season is done.
“I would think if we went away there wouldn’t be any games – it wouldn’t be wise to play games and have people travelling.
“We’re looking at a couple of camps: one in this country, and one in Portugal.”
Bruce on transfer links:
“I think we were linked, last year, to about 150 players in the last summer window, and I’m sure it’ll be more of the same.
“We’ve got a few ideas together.”