SHEFFIELD Wednesday manager Dave Jones insists influential midfielder Chris Lines will not be rushed back in the first-team picture.
Lines is the Owls’ sole long-term injury absentee, having sustained a groin problem in the pre-season friendly draw with West Bromwich Albion in August.
Jones, who lost his unbeaten record as boss in last Saturday’s meeting with Crystal Palace, said the former Bristol Rovers player would be out for between eight and 12 weeks after he initially suffered the issue. Lines is continuing his rehabilitation work with physio Paul Smith and the 26-year-old recently said on Twitter he hopes to return to training come the end of the month.
However, Jones reckons Lines, who played an instrumental role in Wednesday going up last year, remains a long way off making a comeback and told The Star: “Chris is progressing well but it is time with him.
“With injuries, you never know. We have to let it run its course. Hopefully Chris will be okay in the next couple of months.”
With Lines ruled out, Rhys McCabe, a summer acquisition from Glasgow Rangers, has stepped into the breach admirably.
“Rhys has come down from Scotland and been plunged into the first-team but I think he has acquitted himself really well,” said Jones. “We know we have got a really good player on our hands.”
McCabe and Nejc Pecnik are away on international duty with Scotland Under-21s and the Slovenia senior side respectively and Jones is hoping the pair return unscathed ahead of their Championship encounter with Brighton and Hove Albion on Friday.
He said: “They are both going to be playing a couple of games each in a short space of time so we will have to assess that situation.”
* McCabe played the full 90 minutes on Thursday night as Scotland’s Under-21 side cruised to a 3-0 win over Luxembourg in their penultimate European Championship qualifier.