STRIKER Aaron Mclean is set to return to full training with City on Monday – but will not be ready to start the League One opener against Coventry.
City’s main goal hope has not kicked a ball in pre-season since straining his calf in their first week back.
He should finally get the all-clear to rejoin the rest of the squad for full-scale practice but boss Phil Parkinson warned: “Aaron’s got a lot of work to be done.
“He has been running this week and gradually building it up on the training pitch but he has missed all the fitness work.
“Providing there is no reaction over the weekend then he should be back training properly for Monday.
“We will see how it goes but he’s certainly not going to start the first game of the season. He’s a long way behind.
“It’s unfortunate but we’ve got a long nine-month season ahead. There’s plenty of time to get Aaron up to speed.
“What we’ve got to make sure is that he doesn’t pick up another injury by pushing him too fast.”
Billy Clarke will partner James Hanson again in this afternoon’s final friendly against Hartlepool at Valley Parade and Parkinson will be keeping his fingers crossed that there are no further setbacks.
Young striker Lewis Clarkson, who scored four goals in the first two pre-season outings, is already out with a sore hamstring after overstretching for a ball at Park Avenue on Tuesday. City are waiting for further news on the injury but Parkinson admitted: “It’s not looking good.”
With Clarkson and Mclean sidelined, City’s first-team squad currently stands at 15 and Parkinson will continue to press the board to allow him to beef up numbers.
Trialists including Christopher Routis, Mo Shariff and Achille Campion continue to train with the club and could be involved again at some point during today’s game.