Sheffield Wednesday: Jos Luhukay gives an update on Owls striker Gary Hooper's comeback
Sheffield Wednesday are refusing to rush Gary Hooper as the striker bids to make his return after eight months on the sidelines.
The centre-forward, who hasn't played since Boxing Day because of a hip injury, is back in full training.
However, the Championship club, who beat Ipswich Town 2-1 yesterday, will play safe with the 30-year-old rather than risk jeopardising his comeback by bringing him back too early.
The Owls' under-23s are in home action tomorrow afternoon against Cardiff City but manager Jos Luhukay has decided against giving Hooper a bank-holiday run-out even though the player has been working out with the first-team squad for the last fortnight.
"For next week, we are planning not with our long-term injuries that they come back and play minutes for the under-23s," Luhukay said on Friday.
"They must first have a really intensive programme in the training sessions and high intensity in terms of what they do and what we think they need.Â
"When that is 100 per cent, then we think about minutes for our U-23s, and that is the last step towards bring them back to our team.'
Luhukay's method is for senior players to hone their sharpness with the Academy side before being considered for senior action.
Hooper, who has his 29 goals in 76 league outings for Wednesday since his 2015 switch from Norwich City, is making good progress, revealed Luhukay who also says fellow long-term injury victims frontman Sam Winnall and Kieran Lee are heading in the right direction.
"We are in a positive direction with Gary, and also with Kieran Lee and Sam Winnall," the manager said ."But we must have a little bit of patience because they have been away too long with the injuries.Â
"That's why they must have a very good physical side to come to games and minutes for the U-23s."
Winnall has done some training with his teammates in recent days after cruciate knee ligament surgery and could be back by the end of September, while Lee, out since last December with his own hip issue, has been working away from the main group.