Gary Bowyer hopes to welcome Curtis Tilt back to his side this weekend, though news of his return has been tempered by another injury blow for Kyle Vassell.
The forward was forced off after nine minutes against Rotherham United last weekend with what has been diagnosed as a reccurrence of the hamstring problem that had previously left him sidelined.
The news on Tilt is timely however, especially with centre-back partner Clark Robertson now back in action.
“We think we’ve got Curtis Tilt back this weekend, which will be great for us to get that partnership that he had with Clark going again. It was going so well early in the season,” Bowyer said.
“The disappointing thing is that we obviously lost Kyle Vassell last week. Reports back from his scan have not been good for us, and he’s going to be missing for a couple of weeks now,” he continued.
“When you add that to the fact that Mark Cullen is still a month away, it just shows you what a massive blow that is to us at the top end of the pitch.”
In Vassell’s previous absence, Bowyer was disappointed that opportunities were not necessarily taken in attack. The manager has challenged his forwards to remedy that this time around.
“We’ve got four games before the end of this year and then obviously the window opens. They’ve got to prove to me in these four games that I don’t need to delve into the market and get a striker,” he said.
Vassell has eight goals so far this season and, along with Mark Cullen, contributed 13 in the previous campaign. Those numbers are obviously a big miss and emphasise the need for others to step up.
“You add on to that we obviously lost Brad Potts and Bright (Osayi-Samuel) and that’s a further 18 goals, so that’s an area we certainly need to improve on. That means that everybody else has got to contribute.
“Kelvin (Mellor) has been brilliant for us in the last three games and scored in each one, but we need it from across the rest of the team,” the manager added.