GRETAR Steinsson could be thrust into his first Premier League game in six weeks after making progress in his comeback from a knee injury.

And he could soon be joined in the senior squad by long-term absentees Joey O’Brien, pictured below left, and Ricardo Gardner, pictured below right, who successfully came through a behind-closed-doors match earlier this week.

Steinsson, the no-nonsense Icelander, has been missing since the January defeat against Chelsea but also proved his fitness in the friendly and could now be ready to solveOwen Coyle’s defensive problems against Aston Villa.

Injuries to Sam Ricketts and Zat Knight have left the Wanderers boss with only four fit defenders, and forced him to play regular left-back Paul Robinson on the opposite side of the back four.

Steinsson made the bench in the 1-1 draw at Newcastle United but having proved that he is over the troublesome injury that has seen him figure in just two games in three months, the 29-year-old could now be ready for his first team comeback.

The former AZ Alkmaar man played 45 minutes of the 1-0 victory over Norwegian club Molde, managed by former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, alongside O’Brien and Gardner.

“The game went very well,” Coyle said. “Molde start their season in two weeks so it was a good exercise.

“A lot of the young kids played while Gardner and O'Brien played for an hour. Gretar played some of the game as well.

“It got them moving in the right direction. They have been out a long time so we have got to tread warily with them.

“Gretar did very well and looked in good shape. He’s been back training now for over a week, which is a great boost for everyone.

“He is certainly in the squad along with the rest of them.”

Coyle has no new injury problems, and received a further boost as young striker Danny Ward came through the midweek friendly with no ill effects, easing fears that he was struggling with a hamstring injury.