IRISH midfielder Luca Connell is expected be in the first team squad for tonight’s FA Cup tie against Horsham - 158 days after he last featured for the Reds.
The midfielder has not played this season due to illness but played the first half an hour of the under 21s’ 5-0 loss at Wigan Athletic on Monday as planned before kick-off.
His last game for the first team was Barnsley’s heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Sheffield Wednesday in last season’s League One play-off final.
Head coach Neill Collins told the Chronicle: “It was great to see him back out there, more so for Luca.
“It must feel good to be back.
“He came off after 30 minutes and his side were 3-0 down so that part wasn’t maybe as enjoyable.
“But the bigger picture is that he’s back, he’s fit, he’s trained - and he’s in the squad (for Horsham).
“We’ve now got to get it right in terms of how he gets his minutes.
“People need to realise that the Luca Connell that did so, so well last year it took him time to get there.
“We’ve got take every week as it comes but it’s great to have him back because he’s a real positive impact on the group.”
There are a number of injury woes for the Reds, but no fresh worries for Collins.
Defender Kacper Lopata has missed the last month with a shoulder injury.
Goalkeeper Liam Roberts has missed the last three games with a finger injury.
Sam Cosgrove has missed the last two games through suspension then an injury.
Callum Styles can return to the side after being suspended for the last match on Saturday.