Healthier Fire like their potential, with or without Drogba

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The Fire’s Joevin Jones kicks the ball during Wednesday’s game. | Mike DiNovo, USA TODAY sports

It’s pretty hard to argue Didier Drogba wouldn’t be a welcome addition to the Fire. True, it might take him some time to get fit and acclimated to his new surroundings, but anybody with his name and resume could make a sizable impact both on and off the field.

They just want to know soon so they can move on to other targets if Drogba doesn’t sign. On Wednesday, coach Frank Yallop said they were expecting an answer in 48 hours, and two days later reiterated their interest in the former Chelsea star but made it clear they weren’t willing to wait forever.

“We’ll move on and do what we need to do if it’s a no and just try to do something to help us,” Yallop said.

Yet even if the Fire don’t get Drogba, they like their potential with a healthier lineup.

“If it’s possible to get a great player like that to come to our team, I think it would be a massive boost for every single player especially the young guys,” midfielder Patrick Nyarko said. “It would be really good, but we are more concentrated on winning the game on Saturday and winning the subsequent games to try to turn our season around.

“If (signing Drogba) happens, that would be a bonus but I think we have enough in the locker room to turn this season around.”

When the Fire host the New England Revolution on Saturday they might be a bit closer to showing what they’ve got. Mike Magee will be out because of a lingering knee issue plus the recent birth of a son and Jeff Larentowicz will be absent due to a neck injury, but the Fire (5-11-3, 18 points) could be pretty close to full strength.

David Accam and Shaun Maloney could start alongside Joevin Jones and Kennedy Igboananike, giving the Fire an opportunity to use together the four attacking players they signed over the offseason. Nyarko, who on Wednesday went down briefly with a knock to the right knee, said he’s doing better and expects to play against the Revolution (7-9-6, 27 points).

And that closer-to-full-strength roster would give the Fire some chance to turn around their season. Entering play Friday, they’re last in the league in points and the only team averaging less than a point per game (0.95).

“I’ve always advocated and been curious and anxious to see everyone back,” Nyarko said, “to see the dynamic of this team.”

Whether or not that will include Drogba remains to be seen.

Notes: The Fire’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal at the Philadelphia Union originally scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 11 has been moved to the next night. … Retired defender Gonzalo Segares will be honored before Saturday night’s match.

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