Michael Duff on the way back

Last updated : 25 January 2008 By Tony Scholes
Michael Duff
Today, one week later, has come the news that he's edging ever closer to a return to action and should be playing again before the end of February.

It is a remarkable story for Duff who was injured in the home game against Crystal Palace back in September. The injury was initially reported as so bad you wondered just how long he might be out of the game and certainly there looked to be no chance of a return at any time during this season.

The big news came just before Christmas. Having had his lateral ligament and hamstring tendon repaired he had an exploratory operation to determine the full damage to the cruciate ligament. He went for that knowing he was facing more surgery but learned that none was required.

He's been getting himself back to fitness since and now manager Owen Coyle has spoken of his return to action. "I don't want to push Michael, but he has trained for a week now and I am hopeful that he will get half an hour of a game soon and start to build up.

"Again I don't want to put too much pressure on him and we will make sure when he comes back it is the right time, but if we were to get Michael back in a month's time, then we add another top quality player to the team."

Although some way behind Duff there is also some good news regarding Besart Berisha. Earlier this week Brendan Flood said he hoped to see him back by April and Coyle has said: "He has kept his sprits up and remains focused, and he couldn't have a better physio to work with than Andy Mitchell, I have to say that.

"I couldn't have been more impressed with his work ethic and how he has gone about things from day one and that means Besart is in very capable hands."