Sheffield United centre forward Shaun Miller is approaching the final phase of his battle to overcome a serious knee injury, manager David Weir has confirmed.
Miller ruptured knee ligaments during December’s League One encounter with Scunthorpe and has spent the past eight months under the supervision of medical staff at the club’s Redtooth Academy.
Weir, who warned Diego De Girolamo is “still some way off” returning after suffering similar damage on international duty with Italy under-18’s, told The Star: “With Shaun we are talking about him being a matter of weeks away now rather than months. With Diego we are still talking a matter of months rather than weeks.
“Shaun has been working really hard to get back up to speed. We won’t be hurrying him along because we want everything to be right when he does comeback. We owe that to both the player himself and also ourselves.
“The next step for Shaun is to start doing his proper football work and then we can take things from there.”
“It’s only normal that Diego is further behind,” Weir added. “He was injured much more recently that Shaun so it would have been a surprise if they’d both been ready at around the same time.
“The same goes for Diego as Shaun. We do everything properly and make sure everything is right.”
Miller, signed from Crewe Alexandra in July last year, scored eight goals in 11 starts before being injured against the visitors from Glanford Park.
De Girolamo, aged 17, saw his progress grind to a shuddering halt after being diagnosed with the same problem following a match against Austria in March.
Three months earlier the winger, regarded as one of the most exciting players to graduate from United’s youth system in recent seasons, had made his domestic debut during a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie at Coventry City.
Weir, whose team entertain Colchester United today, has also refused to gamble with Tony McMahon’s availability after watching the full-back suffer a series of niggling complaints during pre-season.
McMahon has missed United’s first three matches of the new campaign due to a twisted ankle but could be available for selection when they look to repeat last term’s victory over the visitors from Essex.
“We want Tony to get some good training under his belt,” Weir said. “He’s been ‘stop, start, stop, start’ through no fault of his own so that’s important.”