With Bradford City in need of a lift, manager Gary Bowyer is “tempted” to bring back striker Clayton Donaldson after injury at Mansfield Town.
The 35-year-old has been out since October with a serious toe problem, but returned to training last week.
The Bantams are without a victory in four games, and have won just three of their last 15 in all competitions. Fans are growing restless with this season’s expected promotion far from guaranteed.
The story is bleaker still away from home, with no victories in seven matches, albeit the Stags have League Two’s worst home record.
On the plus side, Bowyer has League Two’s top-scorer, Eoin Doyle, Bradford’s leading scorer and captain James Vaughan, and Jamie Devitt as alternatives up front. Shay MCartan played off Doyle at Colchester United on Tuesday.
“Clayton isn’t too far away,” revealed Bowyer. “He’s not done a full week (of training) with us yet but he’s getting closer.
You see what he brings to the team with the size and the presence that he’s got.Gary Bowyer
“He stayed at home and did another session on Tuesday. We’ll see where he’s at.
“Of course, I’m tempted. You see what he brings to the team with the size and the presence that he’s got. He has the ability to hold the ball up and bring others into play. It’s going to be massive for us when he’s back.”
Devitt is further down the road to recovery than Donaldson, having been an unused substitute for the last two matches, which Vaughan was suspended for. Devitt tore his hamstring tendon in September during his second start for the club.
With attacking midfielder Harry Pritchard fit again, Bowyer is hoping for more luck in the second half of the campaign.
“I look at other teams in and around us and I don’t think there are many who have had the injuries that we’ve had,” he said.
“But they are coming back. We’re hoping we can have a clean bill of health for the run-in.”
Doyle has scored all his 23 goals this season on loan at Swindon Town, but looks increasingly likely to stay at Valley Parade, even after Rotherham United recalled 13-goal Jerry Yates on Wednesday.
The Robins this week signed Callum Hope from Oldham Athletic.
Last six games: Mansfield Town DLWLLL; Bradford City WWDLDD.
Referee: W Finnie (Luton).
Last time: Mansfield Town 0 Bradford City 0, December 5, 2007, League Two.