LIAM Trotter may have reached the end of his settling in period just in time to save Dougie Freedman a real midfield headache at Leeds United tomorrow.

With Darren Pratley now ruled out for the season, the on-loan Millwall man is even more crucial to his manager’s plan for the rest of the campaign.

Freedman feels the 25-year-old is adapting fast to what is being asked of him since his move to the North West on January transfer deadline day.

And he could now come into play at Elland Road, where Wanderers are also boosted by the return of Jermaine Beckford to the squad.

“I think there were a couple of small things we needed to address with Liam, he needed to understand exactly how we play – the timing of his runs off certain people.

“That’s really why he hasn’t been involved so far. But I hope people can see from what he has played so far that he will be effective.

“I’m pleased with how he’s doing – how all my loan players are doing, in fact – and I’m sure we’ll see quite a bit of him.”

All three of Wanderers’ senior international players – Alan Hutton, Chung-Yong Lee and Adam Bogdan – have reported fit from their midweek exertions, which leaves Freedman with a fully fit squad to choose from.

There is also good news on the horizon with Marc Tierney and Joe Riley both making encouraging progress in training, with both expected back on the pitch by the end of the season.

Sadly, Pratley’s race is run after dislocating his shoulder against Watford a fortnight ago and suffering a bizarre complication to a previous bout of surgery.

“Darren being out for the season sums up our luck with injuries this season,” Freedman said. “He had a scan and it was fine, then we found that part of a screw had broken off and they had to go in and get it.

“Long story short, just when we thought things might be okay, we then found out we’ll be missing him for the rest of the season.

“It’s a big blow for the lad but it’s how it has gone this season for us, isn’t it?”