Sheffield United have pencilled-in a behind-closed-doors game for Paul Coutts after Chris Wilder revealed he hopes to have the midfielder available by the end of next month.
Scot Coutts has returned to full-time training after sustaining the injury last November, after a poor challenge from Burton Albion’s Marvin Sordell.
He took part in United's open training session at Bramall Lane on Monday afternoon, in another significant step in his rehabilitation.
And, in an attempt to get him on the path back into the first team, United will set up a friendly against an as-yet unnamed club to give Coutts, new boy Kean Bryan and other members of Chris Wilder’s squad some game time.
Admitting he is “desperate” to get Coutts back on the field, Wilder said: “Paul isn’t close yet to getting back on the pitch. He needs some U23 games and needs to go through the process.
“We’re desperate to get him back. He’s training now and needs match action.
“Everything in training is controlled; we can pull him out of training or put him in for sessions. When you step onto the pitch at any level, it’s ‘away you go’.
“He has to go through the process of clearing himself for a return, by playing 30 minutes, 60 minutes and then 90 minutes.”
Coutts joined his United teammates on their pre-season trip to Portugal but has played no competitive football since sustaining the injury.
“When you go into pre-season, players normally play 45 minutes in the first, 60 minutes in the next couple of games and then a couple of 90 minute games, so it’s about adding the minutes up gradually.
“And that’s for players who finished their season in May. Now we’re talking about someone who finished in November, and went through the injury he went through too.
“He has to go through those clearing processes. But we’ve pencilled in the middle to the end of September in terms of when he’ll be back.
“It’s not an exact science, he may have a setback or feel better than we thought he would and be earlier or later.
“But it definitely won’t be October or November, and it won’t be the end of the month either.
“Do we miss him? We miss every good player that isn’t available, especially a player as influential as he has been, is being and will be in the future.”
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