LUCA Connell is set to play 45 minutes for Barnsley under 21s at Wigan Athletic on Monday and is roughly two weeks away from being available for the first team.
The 22-year-old midfielder, who was one of the Reds' star men last season, has missed the whole campaign so far with illness.
Head coach Neill Collins told the Chronicle: “Luca Connell should play with the reserves on Monday but limited minutes. It will be his first step onto the pitch in anger which is a huge step forward
“A couple of weeks sounds right but there are a lot of variables.
“We will see if he gets through 45 minutes at Wigan then build on it.
“We have more leeway because he’s not coming back from an injury but we have to make sure he doesn’t pick up a muscle injury while he’s coming back.
"He’s a top player and to bring him back on top of what we’ve already got is exciting stuff.”
Goalkeeper Liam Roberts missed both games this week with a finger injury which required surgery.
Collins said it was too early to put a timescale on how long he will be out for. He also said that they will ‘keep an eye’ on the emergency loan market for a goalkeeper.
Defender Kacper Lopata has missed all the October fixtures with a shoulder injury. He is ‘progressing well’ and still on course to return next month.
Midfielder Callum Styles is suspended for one game after collecting a fifth yellow card of the season.