Injured Mansfield Town winger Matty Blair will be back in full contact training on Monday – but boss Adam Murray is refusing to put a date on his first team return yet.
Blair has been battling his way back from a serious injury all year and Murray said: “Matty is back in training. Again it’s going to be a case of building him up.”
Stags will take advantage of next week’s blank midweek to take on the Nike Academy at St George’s Park, Burton, to get players much-needed games and Murray said: “We’ve got a couple of behind-closed-doors friendlies coming up.
“The lads that haven’t played will be taking part in them and Matty is one of them.
“Matty and DT (Daryl Thompson, strength and conditioning coach) are going to be best mates for a couple of weeks which he won’t be very pleased with.
“But he is coming on really well and he’s got his final meeting with the specialist tomorrow to do the final ticks. But we expect nothing to be brought up there, he’s back in and he is looking fit.”
Murray added: “He will be back at full contact from Monday. He has trained with our first team this week as a floater, doing bits and bobs. But the way our group is, is that if you’re a floater you get smashed so he has taken a couple already.
“Matty is a little bit tentative and a bit nervous about it, which you’re going to be. You can see he is over-thinking at the minute. That will be down to myself and the medical staff to break the mental barrier for him.
“The biggest thing now is we did a little bit of a fitness session yesterday and the only person keeping up with him is Greeny so he’s always been ridiculously fit. He’s got a lot of pride in his physical state. So the good thing for us is that once we break those mental barriers down he will be back in.
“I am not going to put any pressure on him or expectation from the supporters that Matty Blair is going to be back on this date at 3pm. Matty Blair will be back when I feel he is ready.
“He is a top man and at the minute he epitomises this group. The last couple of days on the training ground, I have said to the staff what a great place to come and work at the minute.
“This is a group that is one of the best I’ve been involved in as a player and obviously as manager now. They are very, very good people and very, very good players and when this comes together in all areas, physically, defensively and in attack, we are going to be a very good team.”
Also due back into the squad is keeper Scott Shearer after a real fright with an infection in his ankle, following what was believed to be an insect bite, that quickly spread up his leg.
“It was a scary time for Scott. Out of nowhere he was in a really bad place,” said Murray.
“So he’s come back into the building and started light training. But it’s a case of building him up now. We need to get him back into the squad as soon as we can. Brian (Jensen) has been superb but he is going to need some help.”