Jake Wright is making progress in his battle against injury, despite Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder's suggestion the defender will not be available for selection until early next month.
Wright has not featured since sustaining a serious facial injury during United's pre-season friendly against Stocksbridge Park Steels, being diagnosed with a back complaint shortly before doctors were expected to declare him available for selection.
Although coaching staff expect him to miss at least the next three Championship games, Wright is scheduled to begin running at the Steelphalt Academy later this week. Wilder's fitness and conditioning department will then gradually increase the centre-half's workload until such time as he is ready to resume full contact training.
"Jake has got character," Wilder said. "There;s lots of competition for places in that department now but, knowing him as I do, you wouldn't bet against him forcing his way in there because that's the type of bloke he is. It certainly wouldn't surprise me one bit. I don't suppose it would anyone else either."
Wilder and Wright worked together at both Halifax Town and Oxford before being reunited in South Yorkshire soon after the 50-year-old's appointment in May 2016. Despite initially finding opportunities in short supply, Wright went on to become a key member of the squad that lifted the League One title 11 months later and made 17 appearances in the Championship last term.
"We all know what Jake brings to the table," Wilder said. "He's proved it on countless occasions and I know what he's all about."