Matty Daly could make his first league start for Huddersfield Town at Bristol City on Saturday as Danny Cowley considers how best to replace Trevoh Chalobah.
Midfielder Chalobah, on loan from Chelsea, was sent off for a headbutt late in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at home to Swansea City. He will be suspended for the next three matches.
The 18-year-old got his first taste of senior football last season, coming off the bench twice in the Premier League, but is yet to feature this season.
However, manager Cowley has been impressed by what he has done in the gym, and rewarded Daly with a place on the bench for the last two matches.
“Matty has been on the bench as a tactical move,” he explained.
“We went to 4-2-3-1 and Matty Daly has earned the chance. Behind the scenes I ask the sports science guys who has been the best every day, who has been the best in the pre-acts and who has been the best in the gym, and they talk about the extra work Matty’s been doing to add to his game.
“We know he has real technical ability, he has a fantastic ability to receive and front-face and he can speed up the play.
“We just have to add to the work without the ball.
“I have said to him the only reason I didn’t put him on last Saturday was that I need to know I can rely on him without the ball.
“In a 90-minute game you are in possession about three minutes – the other 87 minutes you have to run, and run really hard.
“If football is 50 per cent in possession and 50 per cent out of possession then you have to give to the team in both aspects.”
Former Premier League champion Danny Simpson is “touch and go” to return at right-back from injury and if he does, that could free up alternative options. Midfielders Juninho Bacuna and Lewis O’Brien have filled in at full-back during the last two games, with Cowley preferring them to Florent Haderjonaj.
“Danny is on the grass and training, so we are certainly hopeful he is going to be on the plane to Bristol,” said Cowley.
“He has been a very important player for us since he joined the club, he has a wealth of experience, an organiser, a leader and a really, really good man. You always need good men.”
Jaden Brown is back in training after an ankle ligament injury, but is so far only doing straight-line running, and is therefore highly unlikely to feature at Ashton Gate.
The Terriers have lost one of their last 10 Championship matches.