Birmingham City manager Lee Bowyer has suggested that Maxine Colin could be ready to return to the matchday squad for the Blues when they take on Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
Colin has been missing for the Blues since their 1-0 defeat at West Brom in the middle of October with him having been forced off the field in that game due to an Achilles problem.
That caused a major issue for Bowyer who had to come up with a solution of who to start in the right wing-back role in the defender’s absence.
Bowyer has elected to turn to Jordan Graham and provide the former Gillingham winger with the chance to show what he can do in a less familiar position. It has been a task that he has certainly been able to step up. He has helped Birmingham to cope better without the loss of Colin than they would have been fearing when they realised the defender was out for a lengthy period.
The 30-year-old though is still one of Birmingham’s most important players and he brings a lot to the side down their right when he is fully fit and available.
Bowyer will be wanting him to make a return to the starting line-up as soon as possible now that he has been able to return to training with the Blues.
Speaking to Birmingham’s official website, Bowyer revealed that Colin has been training with the squad this week as he aims to step up his return to action. He even suggested that he could be named in the squad against Blackburn.
He said: “Max has been outside all week and trained with us today and will do tomorrow. He is looking good and that is a positive for us going forward. There is a chance he could be in the squad for sure.
“We will try not to go 0-90, but he is a naturally fit lad anyway – he is a machine. He doesn’t need games to get up to speed. He is one that you could just chuck in at the deep end and he would get through it but that is not the plan for us.”
This is a huge boost for Birmingham ahead of their clash with Blackburn on Saturday. It does seem the game will come too soon in terms of Colin being able to return to the starting line-up, but that does not mean that he can not come back into the team and make a major impact in the coming weeks. At this point, it will just be a boost to have him as an option on the bench.
Graham has been doing well to help Birmingham cope without the sizeable loss of Colin, but that was only always going to be a temporary move for the attacker.
Colin offers a lot of quality down the right-hand side for the Blues and you could see him coming straight back into the team when he is fully up to speed and has properly recovered from his Achilles injury.
Bowyer has to ensure that he eases the defender back into the side gradually because he can not afford to lose Colin again for another period.
Therefore it seems that he is taking the right approach by opting to just have him as an option for the Blues on the bench against Blackburn given he has only just returned to first-team training.