Don Doing Well

Don Hutchison is back in full training and could play again before the end of the campaign.

Says physio Andy Walker:

"He has made a good recovery ahead of schedule; he had a lateral meniscus operation and we had looked at 10-12 weeks as a recovery period.

"To be back seven and a half weeks later is very good indeed; he has completed a full week of normal training and could play again this season."

As for Steve Lomas, Andy says:

"Steve has had a calf problem and been ill as well; we didn't want that affecting the rest of the squad and he has been given the weekend off after the doctors saw him."

Rob Lee did not make the trip to the north east at the weekend either, and Andy adds:

"Rob Lee has made a good recovery from a knee operation; he has trained all week and we are just monitoring the swelling on his knee."

Hayden Mullins was also left behind after a back problem forced him off in the first half against Walsall recently, and Andy adds:

"Saturday came a bit too early for him; it is his first real injury of the season so we will see how he recovers."

Rufus Brevett is continuing to make good progress and hopes to be back before the end of the campaign.

Meanwhile, highly rated young centre half Elliot Ward, who has been out all season with a back problem, is on his way back and hopes to get the green light to resume full training.

"It has been a long term injury with him and he needed a major operation on his back," explains Andy.

"For a boy so young it was very unusual to have a major injury like that; he had a little bit of bone pressing on his nerve which sent pain down into his leg and feet and that made his muscles weak.

"He also had a couple of discs removed from his back and for a lad of his age it was quite a severe operation.

"But, from that, he has recovered very well; he went through an early stage of rehab with a lot of back stability work; after that he has had a lot of rehab on his legs to get the power back; finally, now, he is doing a lot of running and a little bit of ball work.

"He is seeing the specialist again on Monday and if he gets the go-ahead from there he can join in training again.

"Our first expectation from him was to be ready for the new season but he has progressed so well and done a lot of the hard work so hopefully he will be in full training soon.

"We have discussed it with him and what is going to happen is that he will train with the U19s - this is the manager's decision - so it is not such a major step up.

"Hopefully he will play in an U19 game before the end of the season and possibly even a reserve game if things go really well.

"And then you are looking at him being able to play his part in the first team squad next year.

"A lot of people have had an input into him coming back, including Russell Holman and Tony Strudwick.

"He is doing some work on his diet, because, after such a long time out, he has put on a little weight - he knows that, and he won't mind me saying it."

Andy hopes that there are no more scares before the end of the season, and concludes:

"The fewer players we have in the medical room the better it is for the manager."