Grant McCann has been handed a fitness boost with the news club captain Richie Smallwood is closing in on a return to action.
The 30-year-old was expected to miss the rest of the season after picking up a knee injury in the defeat to Burton Albion in early-February.
But the boss has revealed the experienced midfielder is making significant progress in his recovery and could be back available in just a matter of weeks.
“We’ve had good news on Richie Smallwood that he’s progressing very well,” McCann said.
“We could see Richie back in the next three or four weeks. He starts on the training pitch the early part of next week.
“Like I said when he got that injury, the type of character and the type of person he is, no one was writing him off, even though it was a bad injury at the time.
“He’s worked so hard to try and play a part for us coming towards the end of the season.”
Sean McLoughlin (calf) and Brandon Fleming (pubic bone injury) are also on the mend and McCann says it has been a productive week for the pair, helped by not having a midweek match.
“We’ve been able to get a bit more work into the boys who have been injured; a lot more work has gone into the likes of Sean McLoughlin and Brandon Fleming,” McCann commented.
“Brandon has been out for a bit of time so it’s about trying to build his fitness up again. I can’t give you a timescale on that one but we’re hoping it’s not too long.
“Sean can start to join in with us again next week. It was just a little calf injury Sean had which has settled down very quickly. He’s working hard to get back.”
Max Clark remains unavailable with a hamstring injury but McCann says the left-back is in a positive frame of mind as he continues his rehabilitation.
“I had a conversation with Max yesterday and his words were, ‘I think this might benefit me,’” McCann revealed.
“We obviously don’t want him to be injured but in a strange way, it gives him an opportunity to work hard in the gym, to work hard physically on his condition.
“There are different ways we can work him, whether it’s the bike or the swimming pool.
“Whatever it may be, there are different means we can work him and accelerate his fitness, but he’s coming along well.
“I don’t know a timescale – he’s not been on the grass yet. We’re looking to get him on there the back end of next week with the fitness coaches, but he’s definitely improving.”