Barnsley: Reds fitness worry over key striker O’Grady

Barnsley's Chris O'Grady in action against Middlesbrough earlier this season
Barnsley's Chris O'Grady in action against Middlesbrough earlier this season
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Barnsley are sweating on the fitness of leading scorer Chris O’Grady ahead of Saturday’s crunch Championship clash with Birmingham City.

Former Sheffield Wednesday striker O’Grady pulled out of training last Friday with a calf injury. And the Reds missed him as they slumped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Millwall at the New Den on the weekend.

“We’re not too sure how problematic it [his injury] is, but the medical department were telling us that if he did play, and got even worse, then it could have been a four to six week injury,” admitted Reds boss David Flitcroft.

“I don’t want to miss Chris for that length of time, so we took the gamble to not play him [against Millwall].

“He didn’t come down with us [to London] and he’s had extensive treatment at the football club.

“I’m hoping he’s going to be right to train earlier in the week.”

But Flitcroft should be boosted by the return of Norwich City loan midfielder David Fox who missed the trip to East London with illness.

“Foxy’s had mumps,” revealed Flitcroft. “We thought he’d be okay [for the Millwall match], but he trained on Friday and he was way off it. It’s [the illness] has really had an effect on him. I think when you contract it at that age it has a difficult effect on you.

“But he’ll join us this week and hopefully he’ll be okay for Saturday.”

Goalkeeper Luke Steele remains sidelined with a back injury, while young striker Danny Rose is missing with an ankle injury.

However, Steele is unlikely to replace loan shot-stopper Jack Butland between the posts, with the England Under-21 international on loan at Oakwell from Stoke City until Boxing Day.

“We’ve got him [Jack] to December, so while we’ve got him we’ll just enjoy him and what he’s about,” stressed Flitcroft.

“His presence just rubs off on people, so while we’ve got him for that length of time we’re going to enjoy having him about the place.”

Defender Lewin Nyantanga is nearing his first team debut having missed not played yet because of a troublesome knee injury, while Crystal Palace loan centre-back Peter Ramage is currently out with a thigh injury.