Grimsby Town hitman Liam Hearn set to return soon but Rob Scott urges fans to be patient
DON’T expect too much from Grimsby Town hitman Liam Hearn straight away – that’s the advice from Mariners joint boss Rob Scott as the striker’s long-awaited return from injury approaches.
Last season’s top goalscorer has battled back from a ruptured Achilles, sustained in August, and could make his comeback in next Wednesday’s Reserve clash against Mansfield – as first revealed on thisisgrimsby.co.uk/grimsbytown this week.
But after seven months of frustration and relative inactivity for the 27-year-old, Scott insists Town’s fans must be patient with their hero.
“Liam’s doing alright, he’s training as everyone is,” the co-manager told the Telegraph.
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“But people have to realise that he’s not played a game. He’s not played any Reserve team football, although there is a game next week.
“If you said to me, is he ready to play 90 minutes? No. Is he ready to play 45? No. Is he ready for a 15-20 minute cameo? Possibly.
“From our point of view, maybe he is, but then he has to fight those psychological barriers himself.
“He’s been out a long time and I think it’s unfair to say to him ‘you’re on the bench and you’re going to come on and change the game for us’.
“Everybody is expecting that and it’s not fair on the player or the other players. There’s too much pressure there for him.”
After netting 29 times in his debut season for the Mariners last term, it has been a very different situation this time around.
Niggling injuries disrupted the former Alfreton man’s pre-season preparations before his solitary appearance of the campaign, off the bench in the home defeat to Stockport County.
Just days later came a far bigger blow as Hearn’s Achilles gave way in training.
“He’s had a serious injury,” added Scott. “He’s been out since August – that’s a long time to be out and then expect someone to come in and be where they were before they were injured.
“So we’ve got to give Liam every chance possible. Yes, we want him back, he wants to be back and the other players want him back.
“Certainly the fans want him back, but there’s a bigger picture.
“We want it to happen now and if he was right there would be no qualms about it, but we need to make sure he’s right before he is exposed to games.”
“He’s got to play in the Reserves just to get his own head right.”
On the prospect of the forward making an emotional first-team return in next weekend’s FA Trophy final at Wembley, Scott was far from convinced.
“If he plays for the Reserves on Wednesday and comes through that okay, then we’ll look at it,” he said.
“But we’ve got plenty of centre-forwards who are fit, so tell me who we leave off the bench for Liam Hearn who might have played 25 minutes in a Reserves game.
“Is that fair? Is he ready? Is he more ready than the player who’s been left out?
“If he’s right and scores a hat-trick in the Reserves then we’ll have a look at it, but we’ll gauge it as we get there.”