Rotherham United expect striker David Ball to return to action within a fortnight after the summer signing was laid low by illness and injury.
The centre-forward missed last weekend’s Yorkshire derby at Bradford City with symptoms manager Paul Warne likened to tonsillitis and won’t be available for Saturday’s League One home clash with Oldham Athletic or Tuesday’s visit to Blackburn Rovers.
But the Millers could possibly have the 27-year-old back in the first-team fold for the AESSEAL New York Stadium match against Northampton Town at the end of this month after taking advantage of his time off with sickness by working on his troublesome hamstring.
“David has been ill,” said Warne. “He has had an injection on his niggling hamstring while he’s been poorly to make the best use of his time off.
“He’s unavailable for 10 to 14 days tops.”
Ball, who joined Rotherham from Fleetwood Town following his 14 goals for the Trawlermen last term, had complained that his hamstring felt tight when he tried to run at top speed.
One player hoping his own injury woe is behind him is midfield man and captain Lee Frecklington who is expected to lead the ninth-placed Millers against the bottom-placed Latics.
Frecklington, 32, missed chunks of the previous three seasons, mainly with calf and ankle problems, but has been an ever-present in the third tier this time round and scored a hat-trick in the last home fixture, a 5-1 drubbing of Walsall.
“I’m feeling fine. I’ve just got to keep going,” he said. “If I am playing games, I’ll get fitter and stronger as I go along.
“I’m sick of the word, ‘injury’, in conversations with me. That’s how bad it’s got at times. I can look myself in the mirror at the end of every day and know I try my hardest to stay injury-free.
“I’m doing everything I can to make sure I’m on the pitch. Touch wood, so far this season, I’m feeling good.”
Rotherham have won three of their last four matches and Frecklington says there is a marked improvement in spirit compared to the 2016/17 relegation campaign.
“We have a belief that we are a good team and we are doing the right things,” he said. “There’s a difference between last season and this year.
“It’s nice to have the fans back on board. We can make that happen only by winning games. You wouldn’t want to go and watch a team lose every week, would you? You can understand that.
“When we’re doing well, New York Stadium produces a great atmosphere. Long may that continue.”