Curtis Fleming says Bristol City trio Zak Vyner, George Tanner and Kal Naismith are in contention to face EFL Championship strugglers Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
Vyner has been out since mid September with a knee injury, while Tanner has missed City’s last five matches with an ankle problem. Naismith has been sidelined with a calf injury.
The Robins have also had to make do without the likes of Matty James, Joe Williams and Nahki Wells of late, which forced Nigel Pearson to name six teenagers on the substitutes bench for City’s 2-0 defeat to Cardiff City last time out - which proved to be the 60-year-old’s final game in charge.
Fleming will fill the void left by Pearson against Wednesday as the club seek a permanent appointment, and the interim-boss gave an update on the trio.
“You’ve probably seen that Zak has been training, as have George and Kal too. We have been assessing them after nearly every session because we don’t want to push them too much,” Fleming said.
“The danger is that we get a bit carried away when they’re looking great and we start to think ‘wow here we go’ and then they come in in the morning and they’re a bit stiff.”
City are especiallly light on numbers at the back. With Ross McCrorie, Rob Atkinson and Haydon Roberts also out, Cam Pring and Rob Dickie have been their only two match fit defenders - therefore the return of three defensive bodies at once will be a big relief.
However, Fleming insisted that he will not rush anyone back into action if he and his team feel they’re not 100% ready.
“It’s one of those where you’ve got to judge it and when you’re the man who’s got to make the final decision then you’re probably going to be a little bit more careful. But, it’s great to have them back out and they will be in contention, which is a huge lift.”
Atkinson and Ayman Benarous have been sidelined for several months with their own ACL injuries, and although it will be a while before either of them are ready to start a senior match, Fleming gave a positive update on the pair.
“Rob Atkinson trained today, he’s a little bit behind and will need a couple of games, Ayman Benarous trained today as well. If I was doing this interview in four weeks time, we’d be a bit happier, the squad wouldn’t look as juvenile as his has done of late, but as I said, the lads (Vyner, Naismith, Tanner) are in contention and we’ll make our final decisions on Friday morning.”