BARNSLEY defender Jay McEveley is targeting a welcome return to action at former club Derby County on Saturday.
The former Rams full-back has been sidelined since October after a medial knee ligament operation. But McEveley has been back in full training for the last two and a half weeks and has suffered no setbacks.
“I’m going to tell the gaffer [Mark Robins] I’m ready to play, he knows I’ll run my heart out for the team even if it’s for 60 or 70 minutes,” McEveley said.
“But it’s up to him and I’ll trust his judgement; he knows when I’m ready to come back. The last thing I want to do is come back too early and breakdown, but I’m feeling strong and I want to play. I’ve been training hard and want to finish the season strongly. It would be nice to come back against Derby, I’ve got fond memories of my time there.”
And although McEveley is itching to get back in the groove as the Reds look to bounce back from last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Norwich City, the 26-year-old left-back doesn’t expect to go straight back into the starting XI. Former Wolves full-back Matt Hill has done a good job in McEveley’s absence. “Hilly’s a great lad. He’s come in and done well for the team, so I don’t expect to just walk back into the side” added McEveley. “I’ve got a battle on my hands, but I’m up for the challenge.
“You can see that at right back. Bobby Hassell is under pressure from Kieran Trippier, but it’s good to see competition for places, that’s always healthy.”
Just before he got injured McEveley earned himself international recognition with Scotland - and he knows he faces another test of his character to get back playing for his country. “Unfortunately my Scotland chance passed me by, but I’m fit now and got a challenge to look forward to for club and country.”