DION Charles should be fit for the start of the season after making progress on a persistent knee injury.

The Wanderers striker has been dealing with an MCL injury since February and pulled out of Northern Ireland’s squad for their friendlies in June as a result.

Top-scorer Charles was unable to start 14 games for the Whites after his initial lay-off and was not completely recovered as he returned to the team in late April, managing the issue with painkilling injections on the road to the play-off final at Wembley.

Ian Evatt has now confirmed the 28-year-old is on the road to a full recovery.

“When he came back from injury, he was feeling some almost pinching and nipping feelings in certain movements he made,” he explained. “Normally you would say that is part of the healing process for the medial ligament but post-Wembley we had had it scanned, and it hadn’t healed correctly.

“He has literally been in a brace all summer and now been given the all-clear to move forwards.

“He was another player who was playing with an injury at Wembley but we are not here to make excuses, we just have to take it on the chin that we underperformed and we apologised for that.”

Charles is now out of his brace, with Evatt expecting him to be back training again relatively soon. Asked if he stands a chance of being involved in the opening game of the season against Leyton Orient, the manager felt fairly confident.

“I think he will be out for another three weeks,” he said. “He is a naturally fit lad anyhow so in terms of the running he will get up to speed pretty quickly but the good news is that he healed. And having been to see a specialist and had it rescanned, it looked like it has, finally.”