By Alison McConnell
Michael Beale has revealed that full-back Borna Barisic will be fit for Sunday’s meeting against Celtic.
The Croatian internationalist underwent a scan after he had to go off during the 5-1 defeat to PSV on Wednesday night with concerns over his availability for Sunday’s game.
“Barisic will be fine for the weekend after a scan,” said Beale. “Kemar Roofe and Tom Lawrence are both in a fantastic place and in the squad.
“Kieran Dowell has the slight issue with his knee he is recovering from so will need to wait and see on that one.”
And Beale also believes that his players are ready for the white-hot atmosphere against Celtic as his side look to stake an early title claim.
“This is a game players sign to play in, I have no issue with players being ready for this one,” he said.
“I think we have seen a big step-up from Rabbi Matondo.
“Rabbi shows how quickly things can change in football. He can see a real opportunity to play. I thought he had some really bright moments in Eindhoven and against Ross County. I have been delighted for him, it has taken longer than he would have wanted to settle but I am delighted for him as he makes giant strides forward and hope it continues this season.”
After the disapointment of exiting the Champions League, Beale is confident that there will be a reaction on Sunday.
“As a club of our size we never should accept results like midweek,” he said. “We apologise to the fans for the margin of the result, it is not nice and we wanted to take our fans back to the Champions League.
“It is now important we react and go strong. My focus right now is on domestic football and we need to get things right domestically. There is optimism we can get out of our European group and play European football after Christmas.
“It is important we show a big response as a club on Sunday. It is a big opportunity. Both teams have made changes to the squad, we have replaced a lot of key players, it is important we now deliver. These games are vitally important. There will be lots of twists and turns this season but we know the importance of these games to this squad and the fans.”
Further movement before the closure of tonight’s window is unlikely.
“We recruited early,” said Beale. “There might be a loan for a younger member of squad but unless any late phone-calls not expecting movement. The squad is looking healthy and the average age has been lowered. We are happy with the squad.”
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