Charlton Athletic manager Lee Bowyer has said that Darren Pratley could return to face Middlesbrough on Saturday.
The Addicks could fall into the relegation zone if they lose at The Valley at the weekend and the return of experienced midfielder Pratley serves as a real boost.
The former Bolton Wanderers man has not appeared since Charlton’s 3-1 defeat to Stoke City earlier this month due to a back problem.
However, the news was not so positive around defender Naby Sarr, who has missed their last two matches because of a calf injury, while Tom Lockyer has also been ruled out.
“I think over the weekend he [Pratley] has been outside and done some stuff,” Bowyer told London News Online.
“Hopefully he’ll be okay for selection.
“I’m not sure with Naby, it’s just his calf. Tom has got one more game to go. But we have to get on with it, whether people are fit or not. To have the pair of them out at the same time is difficult.
“It shows that defenders are just as important as your strikers. They all play a vital part.”
The South London club have lost four of their last six Championship fixtures, suffering a 4-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town last time out.
The return of Pratley is a timely boost for Bowyer, who will need his most experienced players out on the pitch as his side battle relegation.
Defending has clearly been an issue in the absence of Sarr and Lockyer, with both Adedeji Oshilaja and Jason Pearce making errors against the Terriers.
The return to form of Lyle Taylor will have been welcome, but tightening up at the back should be Bowyer’s priority.