Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal is hopeful he will have Kieran Lee available for what is likely to be a crucial run-in towards securing a play-off place.
The influential midfielder has been out of action since the start of this calender year after finally having to yield on the pain and discomfort caused by a long-standing hip problem.
Lee went in for an operation after playing in his last match, the 0-0 draw with Wolves at Hillsborough on January 2, in which he was forced off at half time.
There were fears that 28 year-old Lee’s season could be over as he recovered from the operation and would then have to battle his way back to match-fitness.
However, his absence has been so keenly felt that Carvalhal is desperate to see Lee make a return, saying that he will ‘push him’ in an attempt to provide a spark to the midfield in the final few games of the regular season and, hopefully from an Owls point of view, the play-offs.
However, one midfield option is further off than hoped, with Almen Abdi not expected to return by the time the international break has finished
Carvalhal said: “Kieran Lee, let’s see if we can push him to play next month but he’s more late and Almen Abdi is more late.”
The Portuguese told The Star earlier this year just how much he rates Lee, who has scored four times from midfield this season and many fans and pundits have noticed the difference in the side when he is not in it.
“Kieran is a special player,” Carvalhal said following the player’s operation.
“He’s a midfielder that breaks the lines who helps the defence and supports the attack also.”
There is better news on the injury front, with four other players likely to be back in time to face Barnsley after the break.
Sam Hutchinson, Fernando Forestieri, Gary Hooper and Ross Wallace are all in line for a return for the South Yorkshire derby.
Meanwhile, Sheffield Wednesday could have four players in international action today.
Barry Bannan, Jordan Rhodes and Steven Fletcher are in Scotland’s squad to take on Canada in a friendly at Easter Road, while George Hirst is with England’s under 18s as they face Saudia Arabia in Doha.