Is an end to Carl McHugh's nightmare finally in sight?

In a welcome boost to everyone connected with Motherwell FC, it seems that stricken midfield ace Carl McHugh is finally on the mend.
Carl McHugh in action for Motherwell in a pre-season friendly at Hibs (Pic by Craig Halkett)Carl McHugh in action for Motherwell in a pre-season friendly at Hibs (Pic by Craig Halkett)
Carl McHugh in action for Motherwell in a pre-season friendly at Hibs (Pic by Craig Halkett)

Irishman McHugh (23) hasn’t played since sustaining a horror head injury on the opening day of the season at Kilmarnock as he battles the nightmare after-effects of delayed concussion.

But the summer signing from Plymouth Argyle has begun light gym work over the last few days, welcome news to Motherwell boss Mark McGhee.

“Carl has definitely made progress over the last two weeks,” McGhee said.

“He is not training yet, as he has a few weeks of work ahead.

“Carl is doing the first stage of physical activity he is allowed to do. So far that is fine.

“He has another couple of days before the next level, which will be a bit more intense.

“At each stage he has to remain symptom free or he goes back to the beginning.

“So far so good.

“It is such a serious condition Carl has that the issue is more than just him coming back playing for us.

“We want the boy well.

“This is not a pulled hamstring he has, it is a lot more serious.

“We are absolutely delighted with the progress he is making.

“But it will be the New Year before he’s back.

“We play Rangers on January 28 and that is a target date for Carl to be back playing. We would love to have him back.”

On the other side of the coin, Motherwell midfielder Craig Clay has been an ever present for the Fir Parkers in this season’s Scottish Premiership since arriving from Grimsby Town in the summer.

McGhee added: “Craig Clay gets better and better.

“We trained on Monday and my God, Craig was brilliant.

“He really looks the part. He is winning the ball, passing it, he looks strong and aggressive and is scoring goals.”

Meanwhile, McGhee said he expects midfielder Lee Lucas – who missed the 2-0 loss at Dundee on Motherwell’s last outing – to be fit for the game against Hearts at Tynecastle a week on Saturday.

“Lee Lucas did terrifically well in the Ross County game and then hurt his knee in training,” the Motherwell boss added.

“He is more of a footballer than the others. I always thought he would be able to bring that to it.

“He got a chance against Ross County and showed the type of player he is. We would welcome Lee back.

“With him and Carl coming back, Lasley and Clay, we would have a bit of competition in the middle of the park. I look forward to that.”