Rotherham United will welcome back Darren Potter this weekend after the key midfield man’s recovery from a heel injury.
The 32-year-old, whose form has been one of the main factors in the Millers’ climb into the League One play-off places, is fit again after an injection in his troublesome achilles.
His return for Saturday’s home clash with Gillingham is timely as fellow midfielder Will Vaulks is suspended for one match after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in last weekend’s 3-3 draw at Oxford United.
“Potter definitely will be available for next week, which is good for us, obviously,” said manager Paul Warne after watching his side fight back from 3-1 down at the Kassam Stadium for their first league draw of the campaign.
Captain and midfielder Lee Frecklington was scheduled to make his comeback in the U’s fixturr but his back problem hadn’t healed sufficiently to allow him to play.
“He was not as close as we hoped. With any luck, he’ll be available for Saturday,” Warne said. “Frecks’ problem isn’t a new injury. When he started training again, he wasn’t 100 per cent ‘on it’. We’re not going to take any unecessary risks.
“I don’t want to rush him back too soon. I was pretty confident that he would be available for Oxford, but that didn’t come out the way we would have liked.”
Warne, who employed Vaulks in Potter’s holding role and paired Joe Newell and Richie Towell in the centre of the park at Oxford, is keen to see his skipper back in contention.
“He’s a big part of us,” the boss said. “No disrespect, but it was a bit more of a makeshift midfield three against Oxford, although at times they’ve done really well and passed the ball really well.”
With left winger Jon Taylor making a big impact as a substitute following a month out with a knee issue, Warne now has extra options at his disposal.
After a week of heavy travel which saw his squad play at AFC Wimbledon last Tuesday and Oxford last Saturday, he glad there is no midweek match coming up.
“We’re pleased with the effort the lads have put in,” he said. “They’ll rest up, then we’ll work them again later in the week and prepare for the next game.”
The Millers struggled defensively before hitting back against Oxford and Saturday could also see returns for right-back Shaun Cummings and centre-half Richard Wood who dropped to the bench following the Dons encounter.