CHRIS Morgan, the Sheffield United captain, has predicted he will return to action before Christmas following a nightmare absence through injury.
Morgan, who joined manager Danny Wilson’s backroom staff when the 51-year-old was appointed on Friday, has been confined to the treatment room since damaging knee ligaments against Coventry City in October.
Despite electing not to set an exact date for his comeback - “I’m not doing that. I can’t afford to rush” - Morgan nevertheless is confident that surgeons will allow him to resume playing duties within the next “four to five months”.
“When it happened I was told I would be out for between nine and 12,” he said. “I’m a quick healer but I think it looks as if it might be towards the latter end of that period.
“It’s not the type of problem that you should be taking risks with. That’s what the docs have told me anyway.
“And, when I start training properly again, it’s important that I’m in good shape and have done all of the rehab work properly.
“But the gaffer has made it quite plain to me that he wants me out there and in his team. And I want to get back out there and help the lads too.”
Having initially expressed a desire to begin pre-season with his colleagues at Shirecliffe, Morgan was forced to revise his timescale due to persistent swelling around the joint in question.
The former Barnsley centre-half, whose fitness problems were cited by Wilson as a major factor behind United’s relegation from the Championship last term, recently underwent an arthroscopy in London.
He added: “The consultant wanted to take a look inside but fortunately there didn’t seem to be anything major going on in there.
“All the ligaments that he had to repair were knitting together okay and, according to him, that’s the most important thing.
“I feel fine and I can’t wait to be involved again. But, with something like this, I’ve still got to be careful and thorough with the work that I do.”
With the likes of Terry Kennedy and Harry Maguire likely to be deployed by Wilson on a regular basis, Morgan’s experience will be vital as the former Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley chief looks to mould a new look back four.
Although Kevin McCabe, United’s plc chairman, has confirmed the youth and development squad must be the first port of call in the event of another injury crisis, he acknowledged home-grown talent must be blended with “strategic senior signings”.
“We want to properly utilise what we’ve already got,” said Mccabe.