Greg Cunningham return will give Bristol City a boost
Bristol City defender Greg Cunningham is expected to make his long-awaited return to full training this weekend.
The summer signing from Manchester City has been sorely missed since getting injured in the 2-1 Championship victory over Peterborough United at London Road on September 18.
The Robins have won just once in 13 games since Cunningham damaged ankle ligaments, during which time manager Derek McInnes has used five different left-backs.
However, the Republic of Ireland international has completed his rehabilitation work with the physios and is ready to rejoin his team-mates on the training field.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Provided he suffers no adverse reaction, he could be in line for a return to Championship action when City host Derby County on Saturday, December 15.
Although McInnes is wisely refusing to set a date for Cunningham's comeback, he confirmed the defender is progressing well.
"The initial time was for the first couple of weeks in December and he is on course for that," said McInnes. "Greg is making good progress and heading in the right direction and the most important thing is that we do the right thing by him and don't rush him back.
"His rehabilitation has involved loads of strengthening work on the ankle and he has been doing a lot in the gym so that, when he does come back, the gap to full fitness is not too great.
"He is back doing the running side of things and, hopefully, will be able to kick on from that. We will build it up step by step and, when the time is right, organise a practice match for him."
Signed for an undisclosed fee during the close season, Cunningham quickly established himself as City's first-choice left-back and his performances certainly caught the eye during August and September.
City have found the going tough without the Irishman and McInnes' team slipped to the foot of the table following a run of seven straight defeats.
Beset by injuries to key players and unable to name a settled back four all season, McInnes is looking forward to the return of his first-choice left-back.
He said: "I think what Greg Cunningham gave us was a great doggedness and tenacity. No matter who he was up against, one-on-one, he was determined to come out on top and make sure his opponent did not have a good game.
"He gave us consistency, but also a lot more, especially in terms of going forward and his ability on the ball.
"He puts a real demand on himself to do well week-in and week-out and we have certainly missed him.
"We've used five different left-backs since Greg was injured at Peterborough, which is far from ideal. If he comes back and is anything like the player he was at the start of the season, then his return will be most welcome."