KEITH Hill has revealed that Liam Bridcutt fought back from a fractured sternum to take his place in Wanderers’ midfield after just six weeks.

The on-loan Nottingham Forest star made a surprise comeback in the 1-0 victory against MK Dons on Saturday, his first appearance since it was reported he had damaged his collarbone in the goalless draw with Blackpool in October.

It has now been confirmed by the club that Bridcutt’s shoulder was dislocated during a clumsy challenge in the first half of the game and that he had cracked his breastbone, restricting his breathing for several weeks.

The 30-year-old’s return has been a big boost for Hill, who believes he has got time to get back to full fitness before his loan runs out in January.

“With the run of games we have got, I think he’ll get up to speed,” he told The Bolton News.

“Personally, I think he’s the best defensive midfielder in the league by a country mile. He is not just defensive as well, he gets you going forward.

“I have been trying to encourage him to come back. I did for the FA Cup but out of the two – it isn’t me picking and choosing, I really wanted to win in the cup – but I was really pleased he came back.”

With Josh Earl also making a successful return against MK Dons, Hill’s small senior squad is slowly building some numbers up again. But after seeing a number of unavoidable injuries crop up in the last couple of months, he remains cautious about over-celebrating.

“It’s a massive boost but I know at some point we’ll keep losing players,” he said. “Someone else, someone we won’t expect, will break down because of where we have been and the demands of League One football and training to win League One matches.

“It’s brilliant Liam is back. Ali Crawford is out for a significant amount of time, up to four months, Will Buckley is out for another six weeks. I am just mindful of another ticking timebomb of an injury coming on. Fingers crossed we can circumnavigate that.”