Key man Lee Frecklington is fighting to be fit for Rotherham United this weekend just days after fears that the Millers skipper could be sidelined until December.
The midfielder limped off just three minutes into last weekend’s 1-0 League One win at Rochdale, with manager Paul Warne suspecting his captain had seriously hurt his hamstring.
But tests have shown that the injury is more related to the 32-year-old’s back and is healing quickly.
He faces a race against time to make Saturday’s home clash with Scunthorpe United. If he doesn’t, there is every chance he will be available for next week’s trips to AFC Wimbledon and Oxford United.
“It’s good news on Frecks,” said Warne. “I initially thought he was out for six weeks. I thought he had ripped his hammy, but the physios thought it was more aligned with his back.
“He has been scanned and he has got slight hamstring damage, but it’s hardly anything. He has had his back treated, so hopefully he can be involved this weekend. It might be too soon, but we are evaluating it on a daily basis. He has come on in leaps and bounds.
“He is important to me, obviously. He has started every league game this season. He is my leader and he drives the team on, so if I can get him on the pitch on Saturday I will.
When I saw it, I was thinking he was out for six weeks and then he’d have to work his way back into the side. Suddenly, you’re out of the team for two months and it’s already Christmas.”
Joe Newell was expected to train this morning after overcoming a quad niggle and Rotherham, who moved into the play-off places by beating Dale, are confident he will be available for selection against eighth-placed Scunthorpe.
Jon Taylor will miss out because of his knee problem, but the winger is making good progress and should return to the first-team fold after the weekend.
“Tayls is close,” Warne revealed. “He won’t be in contention for this weekend. The games after, he will be.
“On Monday, he wasn’t very happy, which isn’t a good sign because he is a really positive kid. But he trained hard and didn’t have any swelling. I spoke to him on Wednesday and he was really happy that his knee didn’t swell after the work he had done.”
Meanwhile, Warne has to decide whether to bring Marek Rodak straight back into the side after the goalkeeper’s international duty with Slovakia or stick with Richard O’Donnell who kept a clean sheet at Dale.
“When Marek went away, he was in good form and growing in stature,” said the manager. “But, in fairness, Rich has done really well.
“Rich is competing with Marek. It is a level playing field. It is a tough one. We will continue to discuss that in the next couple of days, as we have done for the last three days!”
AESSEAL New York Stadium will be the venue for England Under-17s’ clash with Germany on Tuesday November 14.