Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, is relishing the prospect of unleashing summer signing James Wallace on League One opposition.
Wallace, the former Tranmere Rovers captain, has endured a stuttering start to his Bramall Lane career after picking up a thigh injury in pre-season.
His cameo appearance, from the bench during Saturday’s 1-0 win over Rochdale came after he completed 90 minutes for United’s U21s against QPR, and the 21-year-old could be handed his first competitive start for Clough’s side tonight against Colchester, if Chris Basham fails to recover from an ankle injury.
“He’s chomping at the bit to get involved,” Clough revealed.
“And he’s getting closer.
“The 90 minutes for the U21s was important, and he’s getting ever closer. So if Bash is struggling, it may be time to put him in against Colchester.
“He’s impressed us everytime we have seen him in action, and we honestly can’t wait to get him out there.”
“James offers us something different,” Clough continued.
“When Michael Doyle is missing, we miss that aggression and that bite but he gives us something going forward, too.
“When we signed him, we had pencilled him in as a key player but he’s not had his chance yet. He might get it over the next few games.
“But, it’s important to be patient with him, too, and manage him so he’s available for the rest of the season.”
Stefan Scougall, meanwhile, has been pencilled in for a return when United’s U21s entertain their Sheffield Wednesday counterparts at Bramall Lane on Wednesday.
United made the journey to Colchester ninth in the League One table, and unbeaten in their last five league and cup matches.
“We’re quite pleased with the state we’re in,” Clough added.
“It didn’t feel right for the first few weeks, with players settling in and a few niggles. But we’re in a good place now.”