Mark Halstead has stepped up his return from injury and featured in two practise matches in the last week.
The 23-year-old has been sidelined since the autumn with a thigh injury which required surgery, and ruled him out of first-team action.
However the stopper kept a clean sheet against Burnley on Thursday, before playing a further 90 minutes in yesterday’s defeat to Bury.
Speaking after his return, Halstead spoke of his relief: “It has been so frustrating. I’m obviously not a first-team regular, but it’s the toughest time and I’ve probably not been a nice person to be around at times,” Halstead said. “Thankfully it’s over; hopefully there are no more re-occurrences, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season now.
“90 minutes have been a long time coming, I’ve never gone that long in all my life, and touch wood never again. I really enjoyed it, with the clean sheet as well; it’s good to be back. I wasn’t too fussed about the performance, which I think went OK. I was just pleased to be back and get the minutes under my belt.
“I spoke to Tony (Warner), and any mistakes I made were going to happen, because I’d been out for so long. Luckily it was just a bit of timing, I'm happy with a clean sheet and looking to kick-on now. I’m looking to get some minutes under my belt and see what happens for the rest of the season.”