HANOVER, N.J. – Things are finally looking up inside the New York Red Bulls training room.
The league-leading Red Bulls resumed training on Tuesday morning after a weekend off and both Bradley Wright-Phillips and Connor Lade took part in the full session. While Lade continues to inch his way back to contend for a spot in the starting lineup, it was Wright-Phillips’ first full practice since injuring his hamstring last month.
Afterwards, New York head coach Mike Petke confirmed that both players were once again healthy and should be available for selection for the roster that will be taken to BBVA Compass Stadium to take on the Houston Dynamo on Sunday.
Wright-Phillips seems the more likely of the two to see time against the Dynamo, though it will likely come in a reserve role, if at all, seeing as how his match fitness might not be up to par after several weeks without action. Lade could also earn some minutes if starting left back David Carney is feeling fatigued after returning from international duty with Australia later this week.
In any case, the duo is delighted to be back in the mix with the rest of the team ahead of a pivotal matchup in Houston.
“I’ve been watching [practices] from the windows [inside the treatment room at the Red Bulls’ training facility], kind of drooling about getting back out there,” Lade told MLSsoccer.com. “But it feels good to … test my limits and see how it feels. It’s been holding up well and I’ve got a little bit of a brace on it to try to keep it stable. Hopefully, I can graduate from that soon and be back to full fitness.”
Said Wright-Phillips, who was a spark for the Red Bulls before the injury: “It was horrible. I hate watching football matches, I can’t watch them. It’s so frustrating, especially the last game. It’s so hard to watch, you want to do something to help the team out but I couldn’t. Now, I’m back.”
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Two team regulars who did not partake in training were Roy Miller and captain Thierry Henry. Miller is still dealing with an Achilles knock and unlikely to be ready for the weekend, while Henry was simply being rested, according to Petke.
“We had some days off and his legs [are] a bit heavy,” Petke said of Henry. “It’s the first day back. Let him stay in and do some work out with the medical department.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by e-mail at Franco8813@gmail.com.