City are optimistic about seeing James Hanson again in the final fortnight of their League One campaign.

The targetman has been dogged by a build-up of inflammation in his groin and lower back.

He has been pulled out of the firing line for the past four games after struggling when pressed into sub duty for half an hour against Walsall.

His absence has been a source of frustration for Phil Parkinson, who rushed to bring in Jon Stead from Huddersfield as cover just before the emergency loan deadline.

But he is confident of getting Hanson leading the line once more before the curtain comes down.

The City boss said: “I’m not ruling James out for the season. He is just making slow progress.

“If he doesn’t make the Easter programme, then hopefully he will be fit for one of the other games.

“The problem with James is that he hadn’t been able to train properly for about four weeks. He had to play in the game against Walsall when he came on but he wasn’t right.

“We feel that once we’ve got rid of this problem he will be fine. We’ve got to make sure it’s cleared up fully and he has got some good training in his legs.

“When we feel everything is right, we will put him back in the team. It’s a day-to-day thing with him.

“He was in over last weekend doing work with the physios and was feeling a lot better. We will keep assessing him going forward.”

Hanson’s spell on the sidelines has kyboshed his hopes of beating his career-best of 15 goals set last season.

A run of six in nine games after Nahki Wells was sold to Huddersfield doubled his tally to 12. But he has not been able to add to that since heading the opener in the win at Colchester five weeks ago.

“Jim’s played a major part in the success of this football club since we’ve been here,” admitted City number two Steve Parkin.

“It would be nice to have him available for the last few really important games. But it’s in the hands of the medical people and Jim.

“Most teams have openly admitted they don’t look forward to facing Jim when he’s at full tilt.

“He’s a big powerful lad, who’s athletic and scores a goal. Those type of players are few and far between and it would be nice to get him back fit.”

Aaron Mclean is still struggling with a hamstring problem ahead of tomorrow’s home clash with his old club Peterborough.