Exeter City midfielder Liam Sercombe is close to a return
PAUL Tisdale admits Liam Sercombe's absence has been sorely felt and hopes to get the midfielder back in action very soon.
The City youth product has missed the last four games after sustaining an ankle injury in City's 1-1 home draw with York City last month.
But the midfielder is close to a return and is rated as 50/50 to face Port Vale at St James's Park on Saturday.
With Scot Bennett facing a spell on the sidelines after suffering a leg injury during Saturday's 2-1 home defeat against Bristol Rovers and Matt Oakley and Tommy Doherty nursing knocks, the need to get Sercombe back in the team has been heightened.
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And although Tisdale is adamant that the club will not rush him back, he admits his return will serve as a welcome boost for his promotion-chasing side.
"He (Sercombe) is not that far away and I would say he is 50/50 for Saturday," said Tisdale.
"He has been a miss because he has got so much energy and he is such a competitor.
"We have got a small squad of senior players of which Liam is one. You can't afford to have too many of those players out of the side.
"It is a shame he has missed the last few games, but I am keeping my fingers crossed he is going to be okay.
"With the injuries we have got, it does perhaps speed up the need to get him back. It does mean we are far keener to have him available again.
"But it is hard to say that you want him back any more than you would ordinarily because he is such an important player.
"The disappointing part of it is that before he got injured he had a couple of very good games starting at Oxford, where he was superb.
"He was at the top of his game and then he limped off against York, so it was frustrating for both him and the team."
Sercombe has been linked with a number of clubs and there have been several scouts from higher league sides keeping close tabs on the talented 22-year-old.
Tisdale has no doubts that Sercombe will eventually move on to play at a higher level but insists the club are not looking to cash in on him.
"I can't comment on what other people think," he said. "I am certainly not looking to sell him, that is not how we do it.
"It is up to clubs as to whether they show an interest or not. At some point he will go on and be a very good player at a higher level. I can't tell you when that will be.
"But I would be amazed if he doesn't go on. If we have a good season this year and he is one of the main protagonists of a successful season, then I am sure he will go on.
"That is what happens when you have a successful side. Some players stand out and I hope that will be the case this year.
"I am just glad to have him. It is always good to keep your best players and I am always happy when they move on to bigger things for themselves. I am sure Liam will have that opportunity."
Tisdale will leave it late before deciding whether Alan Gow will be fit to play against Vale after the Scotsman suffered a knee injury last weekend.
"We are hoping for some good news on that one because Alan has been playing very well," added the City chief.