HARRY Worley (above) is expected to make a long-awaited return to full training in the next 24 hours after missing pre-season with an ankle injury.
The Oxford United defender initially made good progress following surgery in May and was scheduled to join in with the rest of the first-team squad last week.
But the final stages of recovery have taken longer and the 23-year-old is hoping to have his first full session either today or tomorrow.
With Michael Duberry and Andy Whing on the sidelines, Worley’s return will provide some welcome back-up in central defence.
U’s boss Chris Wilder said: “I’d have liked for him to get a week or two of training into Harry, we’ve just got to be careful we don’t take a risk and re-injure him. That’s the last thing we can do.
“He’s progressed well, but possibly just not quite as quickly as we would have liked.
“Hopefully he’ll train (today) and Saturday.”