Powerful midfielder Kelvin Etuhu will be allowed to return to the first-team fold at his own pace rather than being rushed back, insists Reds boss David Flitcroft.
Etuhu has missed the Reds opening two fixtures of the 2013/14 season due to a hamstring problem. The 25-year-old has spent the last week receiving treatment at St George’s Park, the Football Association’s national centre based near Burton-Upon-Trent.
Flitcroft says he will assess Etuhu in training today but reckons he is 10 days away from being fully-fit.
He said: “I’m not going to rush Kel because he’s going to be so important to the campaign. He’s missed a league and a cup game so I just don’t want him to have a reoccurrence of that injury. He’s massively important to us.”
Etuhu and Paul Digby (thigh) remain on the sidelines while Lewin Nyatanga is a fortnight off recovering from his hamstring niggle. Dale Jennings will also miss the trip to Blackpool tomorrow due to suspension. He serves the second of his three-match ban following his red card against FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic last weekend.
Flitcroft, who may recall Tomasz Cywka to the starting line-up at Bloomfield Road, is happy to have been paired at home with Southampton in the second round of the Capital One Cup.
“It is a good draw; as a football person, you want to pit your wits against Premier League opposition,” he said.