BARNSLEY striker Craig Davies is ready to hit the ground running when he makes his long-awaited return from injury.
The former Chesterfield hitman has not played for the Reds since their excellent 2-1 away victory against Reading on August 20.
A troublesome groin tear has meant 25-year-old Davies has been missing for longer than first anticipated.
But, after plenty of rehab and having resumed running during the last two weeks, Davies could return to the team on Saturday as the Reds journey to Fratton Park to take on Portsmouth.
“Whether I play or not I’m just happy to be back,” Davies told The Star. “In my head I started to worry because my injury wasn’t getting any better - at first we thought I was only going to be out for about 10-14 days.
“I injured myself in training just after we’d beaten Reading. I woke up on the Saturday on the morning of the match and my groin was really hurting, but I played the game even though it was very painful.
“But it was the next day and Monday when it really felt very stiff and I knew something was wrong.
“I’d had an anti-inflammatory injection, but although it helped a bit it didn’t solve the problem. I hit a brick wall after a couple of weeks so I went for an MRI scan and we found out I had a tear, which meant I was going to be out for a fairly long time.
“It has been really frustrating not playing, but the lads have done really well. I certainly don’t expect just to walk back into the team when I’m completely match fit.”
Without Davies, and a string of key first-team squad members, the Reds have gone on an impressive seven-game unbeaten run which culminated in a fine 2-0 home win over Coventry City just before the current international break.
Reds’ boss Keith Hill has already said that Davies could be used as an impact substitute at Pompey as he completes his final stages of rehabilitation.
“I do need to get my match fitness back, but I trained with the squad last week and have trained this week, so I’m getting there,” added Davies.
“It feels as though I’ve been gone ages, I have really, the Reading game was such a long time ago.
“But I’d like to think I can offer something new when I get my chance. The lads have been on a really good run, so hopefully we can get a good result at Portsmouth.”