International helps Mounie on path back
HUDDERSFIELD Town striker Steve Mounie got another hour of game time under his belt for the Benin national team as he works his way back from a heel injury.
The 23-year-old picked up the injury in Town’s 2-0 defeat to West Ham United in September and has had to settle for two appearances off the bench for Town since returning to the first team fold.
That is partly due to the fine form of teammate Laurent Depoitre – whose goals earned him a recall to the Belgian national team for the first time in two years this month – but also due to Mounie’s fitness being down after the layoff.
Head coach David Wagner was keen for the Benin international to use the break to get back to full fitness, with the Squirrels taking on Congo and Tanzania in a friendly double-header last week.
Ahead of the victory over West Brom, Wagner said: “We made some tests with him at the start of the week and, fitness-wise, he is on a good level but not a level where he was before the injury.
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“At the start he was one of the top two in the group, fitness-wise. But he is not back at that level yet, even if he is still at a good level compared to the group.”
He added: “The international break will suit him. He will be away with Benin and have two further opportunities to get minutes in his legs for the national team.”
Mounie has taken the opportunity to sharpen up his fitness, having been handed two starts by Benin boss Oumar Tchomogo.
The Town man played 85 minutes against Congo on Wednesday, before having another hour of football on Sunday - both matches ended 1-1, although Mounie did not add to his international tally.
The Terriers’ record signing is likely to be available for the trip to Bournemouth this weekend, where he will once again be competing with Depoitre for the striker’s jersey. ■■Stuart Pearce will no longer continue to promote bookmaker Betfred following his appointment as assistant to new West Ham manager David Moyes.
The former England defender made 50 appearances for the Hammers in the autumn of his career and will join Alan Irvine on Moyes’ coaching staff, the Premier League club confirmed late on Sunday.
Pearce, 55, had been signed up to help promote Betfred’s football betting campaign for a third season.
However, now the former Manchester City and England under-21 manager has returned to take up a role within the game, he becomes subject to the Football Association’s betting rules, which state “an individual participant, when acting in a personal capacity, shall not be permitted to advertise or promote any betting activity”.