GARY Bowyer hopes City’s free weekend will give James Vaughan enough time to return to leading the line.

The skipper is recovering from an ankle injury that forced him off after an hour of the FA Cup draw at Shrewsbury.

Vaughan sat out the Trophy in midweek – although he had not featured in the competition previously anyway – as City hope to get him right for Tuesday’s replay.

Bowyer said: “He couldn’t have played on Tuesday, simple as that. He wasn’t fit for selection.

“We’ll have to see how he is over the next few days. But that’s one blessing that we haven’t got a game this weekend.

“You saw how stretched we were up front the other night in terms of having to put big Ben (Richards-Everton) up front. We’ll see with Vaughany as time progresses.”

Clayton Donaldson remains out after surgery on his toe but City could have Shay McCartan back for next week. He has been out for three weeks with a knee problem from training.

Bowyer believes the casualty list that has dogged his selection plans is starting to ease.

He added: “We certainly hope so. Tyler French and Jackson Longridge came through Tuesday night.

“Hopefully we could possibly get Shay back in with us and Matty Palmer is doing ever so well. He’s going the right way.

“Jamie Devitt is making good progress as well and Joe Riley’s been superb in the gym.

“He’s just started his first jog last week so you can imagine what he was like.

“They are going in the right direction but we need a few more to clear up.”