James Meredith will play another part before City’s season is over.
Phil Parkinson is confident that the Australian defender’s determination to recover from a broken foot will be rewarded with some involvement in the remaining four games.
Meredith, who last featured on New Year’s Day at Notts County, is back in full training this week.
Parkinson initially tried to “rein him in” but now concedes the left back has put in so much work that he will be ready to add to his 28 appearances for the season.
The City chief said: “It’s a massive boost for us to have him back. But it’s typical of James really – he’s absolutely determined to get back out there.
“He had a specialist’s appointment which was supposed to be late last week. But he came to see me and the physio a couple of weeks ago, saying how great he felt and asking to bring it forward.
“So he had the x-ray early and the specialist was happy to push him out to start running outdoors again.
“James has been doing everything he can to get back as soon as possible. I love that attitude. I’m expecting him to be on the pitch before the end of the season. As a reward just for him, I’d like to get him out there – even if it’s coming off the bench.”
Meredith broke the metatarsal bone on his right foot on January 7 during a training run. He had played in every game up to that point.
“It was such an innocuous incident,” added Parkinson. “One minute he was jogging round the pitch; the next he had broken a bone in his foot after going over on his ankle.
“We’d just finished a small-sided game and were doing a bit of defensive work. Then Mez shouted ‘I’ve done something to my foot, it’s killing me’.
“Anyone who knows James Meredith, knows how difficult it is to get him off the training pitch because he is a tough lad. So we knew it must be something serious.
“But it’s great for us all to have him back out there. We know what a big player he is.
“To get him back on the pitch again would be the reward for all the work he has done with his rehab.”