Danny Wilson, the Sheffield United manager, could be handed a double boost ahead of Saturday’s game with MK Dons, with Jamie Murphy and Jonathan Forte set to make their comebacks from injury.
Murphy, who has scored twice in United colours since making the move south of the border from Scottish Premier League side Motherwell, has missed two games with a groin strain, while Forte - on loan from Premier League club Southampton - has missed four outings with a similar injury.
Wilson, however, hopes to have the duo back in his squad for Saturday, when Karl Robinson’s side visit Bramall Lane.
United could go top of League One this weekend if they beat MK Dons and Doncaster fail to win at Bournemouth, and Wilson could be tempted to thrust Murphy back into the starting eleven - possibly at the expense of Barry Robson.
The former Scotland star has added a touch of invention to an industrious United midfield since agreeing a contract until the end of the season, but is struggling to cope with the demands of League One’s punishing fixture list.
“Barry is a player I wish we could have brought in six months ago,” Wilson said.
“If we could have got him in during pre-season, then he would have been fully fit and able to hit the ground running.
“Because he has played so little football of late, playing two games in the space of four days is a tough ask.
“But he has given us everything and will continue to do so. He is a tremendous player and a real intelligent footballer, who generates a positive attitude from the players around him.”
The 34-year-old arrived in January from Vancouver Whitecaps.
Another recent arrival, Dominic Poleon, is also still adapting to the rigours of league football and has been substituted in United’s last two matches.
However, his most recent withdrawl, in the 2-0 win at Oldham last weekend, was only down to cramp and Wilson said: “Dominic always wants to run at people and put defences on the back foot, but, like Barry, he hasn’t played much recently.
“That gives us a real dilemma.
“You can’t push players too hard, because if you do you could lose them for long periods.
“We have to continue to utilise the squad because all the lads run themselves into the ground for the cause.”
Saturday’s opponents MK Dons have underperformed so far this season, and find themselves in 11th place.
They did, however, demonstrate their potential with a 3-0 midweek win over United’s promotion rivals, Doncaster Rovers.
Chris Lines, on loan at Stadium:mk from Sheffield Wednesday, is expected to start and tweeted: “Roll on Saturday. I’m buzzing for the game.”
n Follow Danny on Twitter: @dannyhall04