Welsh international David Brooks took the first steps on his comeback from glandular fever last night as Sheffield United’s U23s lost to city rivals Wednesday at Bramall Lane.
Brooks has been out of action since early December’s defeat at home to Bristol City after contracting the infection, which was initially diagnosed as tonsilitis.
Brooks played 21 minutes as a substitute as Travis Binnion’s men lost 2-0 to their Wednesday counterparts, after boss Chris Wilder insisted his return would not be rushed - to minimise any risk of further time on the sidelines.
“Brooksy is back in full-time training and the issue is game time,” Wilder said.
“It’s a medical issue more than anything - he can only do a set amount of minutes per game, so it might take him a while to get to the point where he can play 90 minutes or be on the bench for the first team.
“He’s had that first game now so it’s about ramping up the minutes off the back of that, while still monitoring him and ensuring that we don’t overwork him.
“If we do, he could go back to square one and of course, we don’t want that.”
Ched Evans also played 90 minutes as he stepped up his recovery from a recent ankle operation, but goals from Jack Stobbs and substitute Preslav Borukov sealed the victory for Wednesday.
“Brooksy wants to resume his career as quickly as possible, of course, because it’s been a disappointing period for him,” Wilder added.
“He was flying for us before this happened, he’s took a knock but these things happen. He’ll be fine before long and when he comes back fit and firing, we’ll welcome him with open arms because he’s an important player for us.”
Evans, meanwhile, hopes to stake his claim for a first-team spot after playing the full game against Wednesday.
“It was just about getting 90 minutes under my belt really and coming away with no issues, which I’m pleased to have done.
“Now, I’m just looking to be considered for the first team. We’ve got a week of training now and I’m just biding my time and waiting my turn.”
Leeds, United’s opponents this Saturday, look set to appoint Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom as their new manager before the weekend.