JAKE Reeves is smiling again as City continue their cautious approach to his recovery.

The long-term absentee has stepped up his rehab work with a running programme during the first week of pre-season.

Gary Bowyer won’t risk involving a player who has not kicked a ball since January 2018 with the main group.

But he can sense a more positive attitude from Reeves as he eyes some light at the end of a very long tunnel.

Bowyer said: “Reevesy has got a smile on his face. He’s happier than when I first walked in the building.

“We’re delighted he is making progress but I could be saying the same in a month’s time.”

Bowyer still hopes the midfielder can have a part to play in the final year of his contract but will not set a deadline for his comeback.

“He’s still following his own programme at the moment,” added the City boss.

“The big thing with Reevesy now is not to get carried away.

“He’s been out for 18 months. It would be stupid to throw him in and expect him to do the same as the other lads who have been fit for all that time.

“That would be putting him at such a risk and I wouldn't want to do that."