GOOD news can sometimes come when you least expect it, and given the week Neil Lennon has had in the transfer market, he definitely needed a boost.

While the search for reinforcements has dominated this week’s agenda, two players have slowly and steadily been preparing their long-awaited comeback behind the scenes.

Max Clayton, the hugely-talented young striker who has been out since December after knee surgery, and the Redcar Rock, David Wheater, back after a summer trying to rectify long-standing issues with his hamstrings and back, have both declared themselves fit for the visit of Brighton tomorrow.

That comes as a timely piece of news for Lennon, who was already facing an enforced change in his back four thanks to Derik Osede’s red card at Huddersfield last weekend and who has also been searching for the right formula up front for some time.

Both players carry with them an element of risk, not least Clayton, who has had just one outing for the development squad and a couple of behind-closed-doors friendlies to prove that he is completely ready for a comeback.

The 21-year-old was carried off against Ipswich Town at the end of last year with a ruptured cruciate ligament but the Wanderers boss insists his lack of options in attack are not making him push Clayton to return before he is completely ready.

“It was a horrendous injury but he’s rehabilitated very well,” he told The Bolton News. “It’s been a lengthy process but he’s worked very hard.

“You can see the change in his body where he has worked very, very hard in the gym. He looks bright, fresh and will certainly be a big asset to the squad once he’s up and running.

“He has played well in the games behind closed doors, so that bodes well.

“We have taken our time with him and not taken any risks. He was injured in December and had surgery in January so we are looking at eight or nine months now. That’s par for the course for a cruciate injury.”

Like another of Wanderers’ longest-serving players Mark Davies, Wheater is at the stage of his Bolton career where he needs to prove injuries are not going to define his time at the club.

The popular 28-year-old has worked with the club’s medical staff to try and solve some recurring issues but after four seasons without a full pre-season, minor injuries like the calf problem that has prevented him being involved in the last month were inevitable.

Now up to speed, Wheater arrives at just the right time to add some physicality to a Whites defence that was dominated too easily by Huddersfield's Ishmael Miller last weekend.

“Wheater would give us that extra bit of muscle,” Lennon said. “He is back and fit so he definitely comes into contention, although the younger lads Rob Holding and Alex Finney also get a mention in that because they have done well.

“We looked lightweight last weekend and that is something I need to address.”

Prince Desire-Gouano has shaken off the illness that affected his second-half performance at the John Smith’s Stadium last weekend but Lennon has not ruled out making changes elsewhere – with Francesco Pisano pushing hard for inclusion on the right side of defence.

Either way, the manager is looking for a reaction after feeling last weekend’s dismal display was quite out of character.

“I think sometimes you scratch your head and wonder where that comes from,” he said. “It wasn’t like us recently because we have been more resilient.

“It is important we get back to that level of defending and that manner of being hard to beat. We are not scoring enough goals some can’t keep relying on the defence. We will try to get back to being tidy again.

“But we have been pleased with some of the performances. Prince has been excellent and we did have him being very ill at half-time at Huddersfield, which surprised us all. But he went out and played the second half. He has come through that and he is an important player for us.

‘It’s not just the back four. We want to defend as a unit and do that a little better.

“And, of course, Brighton have been flying – they are full of confidence so defensively we will have to be spot on to get a result.”