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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Tuesday, February 20th 2018

Injured stars "weeks" from returning

Bristol City are due to welcome back their long-term injured players in the coming weeks.

City have been hit by a number of injuries to their stars this season, which has included the likes of Milan Djuric (groin), Callum O'Dowda (ankle), Jens Hegeler (knee) and Gary O'Neil (knee).

Midfielder O'Neil is one of those closest to making a return, after his run of games for the Under-23s in the last week.

Right-back Eros Pisano (hamstring) has also been doing well in full training.

Speaking ahead of the midweek Sky Bet Championship clash against Fulham, assistant head coach Dean Holden told BCTV the club can expect a full clean bill of health in a matter of "weeks".

He said: "Gary O'Neil has played the last couple of reserve games, which is a huge bonus for us. He's a very good player, who has experience of getting promoted out of the Championship as well.

"He'll play again on Friday in the next under 23s game and then hopefully he'll be ready to come into the squad."

O'Neil played in the 1-0 victory over Liverpool's U23s last week - his first competitive game in six months

"Pisano is back in full training which is great to see. The others are only a couple of weeks away.

"Jens and Milan joined in with the warm ups this morning which is fantastic when you're coming back from mid-to-long-term injuries, to get back on the grass to get a touch of the ball with the lads and to get back in the camaraderie is an important aspect of your rehabilitation. They are two-three weeks away as well.

"Matty Taylor (hernia) is about 10 days away and Callum O'Dowda is back running on the treadmill as well.

"I'm sure the medical department will be breathing a huge sigh of relief. We've had a terrible run of injuries, a freak amount of injuries which we did not have control over. It's great now that we are getting over that and hopefully everyone can play a part."

Josh Brownhill has shaken off a slight knock to his calf and will be available against the Cottagers.