Eddie Johnson is halfway to recovery over his troublesome back.

City's converted central midfielder has been laid low with sciatica since the double-header against his home-town club Chester at the beginning of last month.

Johnson is on the mend but the club are wary of setting a date for a possible comeback.

"Anybody who's had a bad back in the past will know that it can clear up all of a sudden or can take weeks and weeks," said City physio Steve Redmond.

"Different people react in different ways. When the problem was diagnosed, we thought we'd be looking at between eight and ten weeks and Eddie's probably doing better than we'd hoped for.

"But you have to be careful. There was a little period a couple of weeks ago when it seemed to clear up but that only lasted 24 hours and then he suffered a slight relapse.

"Hopefully we can step up his rehab work now. He had an injection recently which appears to have stabilised things and he could be in position to do a bit of running again next week."

Johnson, who switched from a striker's role to playing in midfield towards the end of last season, has been missed in the City engine room.

He was a regular in Stuart McCall's side up to the injury and scored back-to-back goals from outside the area against Wrexham and Barnet at the start of the season. Johnson was named the T&A/Bradford & Bingley player of the month for September.

McCall has shuffled his pack between Paul Evans, Scott Phelan, Kyle Nix and on-loan Nicky Law in the five games that Johnson has been forced to sit out.

But the Bantams boss admits it is frustrating to have a key player stuck on the sidelines.

McCall said: "Eddie is important for us because he can fill different roles for the team. He gets around the pitch well and is a very fit lad - one of the fittest in the squad when we do the tests.

"I felt he was beginning to really get to grips with the midfield role just before he got injured."

Meanwhile, Paul Heckingbottom is making good progress with the calf strain he suffered at the end of the Chesterfield game.

Redmond added: "He's back doing a bit of training and we're very hopeful he could be all right for next week."

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