Matt Mills waiting for all-clear before Bolton Wanderers first-team return
The centre-half has been missing since injuring his knee in the 2-0 victory over Watford three weeks ago but has now returned to light duties.
It was feared he may have damaged a cruciate ligament after falling awkwardly at the Reebok but he now just needs a thumbs-up from the club’s medical team before he can be considered for selection.
Mills could face a battle to regain his place despite being one of the most consistent performers of the season.
Zat Knight and Alan Hutton have staked a claim since Mills has been on the sidelines, with Dougie Freedman naming a completely new-look back four at Derby in midweek.
Freedman explained yesterday that the changes – which saw Tim Ream moved to centre-half and Alex Baptiste to left-back – had been tactically motivated.
“It was the right thing to do. I won’t go into detail but their manager blew out his cheeks when he saw the team-sheet because he knew we’d done our homework,” he said.
“He knew why we were playing one up front and why I’d put Tim Ream in there to stop the runners from midfield.
“I remembered the goal they scored at the Reebok, running between the centre halves, so I had to make sure it was balanced up with a left-footer in there.
“When it ran on to Tim I felt he was comfortable.”