Helan fills gap as Reda eyes New Year return

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OWLS left-back Reda Johnson is not expected to be back until the New Year.

He has already been sidelined for weeks by the recurrence of a foot inury - one of the reasons why Manchester City left-back Jeremy Helan has been signed on a month’s loan.

Manager Dave Jones has also revealed that another possible left-back contender, Joe Mattock, has “tweaked” a hamstring, but Helan would have been signed regardless of that.

Mattock was already out of the side, and it is Daniel Jones who stands to make way for Helan today.

Strikers Chris Maguire (knee) and Chris O’Grady (foot) are still out. O’Grady has had an injection and will be assessed next week.

Jones said: “We hope to have Reda back in the New Year; if it’s before that, it will be a big bonus.

“We’ll maybe get him back training in the next two weeks. We’re not going to rush him.

“We tried to do that last time; it sort of put him back a bit.”

Jones says of Helan: “He’s a left-back who can also play in a more advanced position. Like Reda, he is very attack-minded.

“Jeremy is a very good player. He’ll give us something different that probably we’ve missed since Reda was bombing up and down the line. He’s a young player learning his trade; sometimes they’re the hungry ones.

“We tried to get him early in the season. With the injuries and suspension (of Miguel Llera) we’ve got, it was a must we got another defender in.”

Jones also confirmed that he wanted “one or two” players to go out on loan to stay match sharp: “Some didn’t want to go, which is a bit disappointing,” he said.