Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Mick McCarthy can look forward to welcoming winger Michael Kightly back to his first team, but doesn’t want to rush him.
Kightly has struggled with injury over the past two years and hasn’t played since November 2009.
The 25 year-old has struggled with both ankle and knee problems, but looks set to finally put that all behind him as he battles his way back to fitness.
Kightly played 45 minutes for the reserves on Thursday without any problems and can now look to a first team return.
McCarthy, while looking forward to welcoming his talents back into the team, doesn’t want to rush his playmaker back and risk a further spell on the sidelines.
“He was excellent and he’s been training really well,” he said.
“He had 45 minutes, feels great today, and I’m really pleased with his progress. He’ll come back when he’s ready. I’m not rushing him.
“At this stage now, when he’s been injured for so long, I would love to have him involved with the first team.
“Just having him on the bench and warming up would lift our crowd and lift the rest of us. As soon as he’s ready, he’ll be involved.”
He added, “He’s been grumpy at times, like you wouldn’t believe. He’s had those days because it’s been a long road, but he’s been a model pro.
“He’s had some difficult days and difficult weeks, when I see the injury list and it says ‘Michael Kightly – two weeks’, then it goes to eight weeks, and then three months.
“How must you feel when you know you can’t do your job for that length of time?
“He’s maintained his focus to get himself right, and trained incredibly hard, so fingers crossed for him because he’s a lovely kid and a fabulous player. I’d love to have him back.”