Reds boss Danny Wilson has hinted that he might make “calculated” selection “gambles” this weekend as his relegation-threatened side prepare to host Bournemouth.
Skipper Martin Cranie is missing with a hamstring injury, but fellow centre-back Peter Ramage and Liverpool loan right-back Ryan McLaughlin could return to the Reds starting line-up for the visit of the Cherries.
Crystal Palace loan defender Ramage sat out the club’s 3-0 away defeat to Watford, having limped off early in the second half of the previous match against Leicester City while McLaughlin has only recently returned to the South Yorkshire club after receiving treatment at his parent club Liverpool.
Wilson confirmed: “Rams [Ramage] is close, but maybe not close enough. It would be a gamble if I involved him [against Bournemouth], but sometimes you have to take gambles. You have to be very careful with injuries of that nature, so we’re wary of when we bring them [him and Cranie] back.
“Hamstrings are crafty little things. You think they’re okay and they shoot you in the back of the leg again. We’re hoping sooner rather than later that we get both lads back so we’ve got a full compliment [to choose from].”
On McLaughlin, he added: “Thankfully he’s back with us, but he’s not full fit. But with a bit of luck he might be added to the squad.
“Hopefully he will give us the big lift that we need in the coming weeks. Sometimes you have to take a chance and a gamble, but it has to be calculated in my opinion.”
Veteran defender Bobby Hassell (calf) and Norway striker Marcus Pedersen (knee) remained sidelined, but Wilson is hoping for a response from his side having stressed the Reds’ home form is imperative if they are to stand any chance of staying up with 11 games remaining – with five of them at Oakwell.