JOEY O'Brien is on the verge of a long-awaited comeback, thanks to the radical techniques of a leading American doctor.

Wanderers' 20-year-old Republic of Ireland international has spent the last five months sidelined with knee trouble, but he can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel after a minor operation and sessions with the US specialist.

Dr Frank Jarrell, a pioneer in the field of spinal reflex analysis, which focuses on how the spinal column affects the muscles of the body, has been advising the Reebok backroom team on methods that can help in the prevention of injuries and speed up recovery.

And O'Brien has already felt the benefit.

"I've been out of action with tendonitis since pre-season and I've been working closely with Frank since his arrival," said the young Dubliner.

"I've already noticed the benefits and I'll hopefully be out on the pitch very soon."

Wanderers head of sports science and medicine, Mark Taylor, sees spinal reflex analysis as a key addition to the range of expertise at his disposal.

"Compared to other clubs in the Premier League, we have a relatively small squad, so we need to stay one step ahead," he said.

"Our philosophy is to prevent injuries and to improve recovery from injury.

"We are now looking at what is happening to the spinal column and how it reacts to performance or injury. We realise that there is some neurological input as to why people do not perform or why they pick up injuries.

"The current expertise in the UK and Europe did not answer our questions so we looked at the United States and encountered Dr Jarrell, who has worked with some of the US's top athletes.

"He is here to screen the players for us and to teach and educate the staff who will take on board the link between the spinal column and muscles.

"We have currently been working closely with our injured players. Ricardo Gardner, Joey O'Brien and Quinton Fortune have all been reassessed and their recovery rate has improved already in the short space of time since Frank's arrival."

Dr Frank Jarrell said: "In terms of performance, an increase in power will be seen in up to six weeks because the players will function differently to training.

"Performance and injury prevention will be enhanced because any increase in muscle function, which allows normal ranges of motion, reduces the possibility of tearing joints, ligaments or tendons early."

O'Brien, who came of age last season when he made a successful transition from midfield to right-back after Nicky Hunt broke his leg, hopes to be back in action by the end of the month.

"It's been a terrible time," he said. "I've had a few setbacks and it has been longer than what I first thought.

"I hope within the next three weeks I wil be back out on the pitch and playing.

"To get fit is the next target and then try and get in the team."