Jack Ross explains why the signs are good for Duncan Watmore's return and what happens next
Jack Ross says Duncan Watmore is 'feeling really, really good in terms of his knee'.
The talented forward is recovering from a second ACL injury, sustained in a 2-2 draw with Millwall on November 18th last year.
He has been in full training for three weeks and while Ross is adamant that he will not be rushed, a return to action of some sort is nearing.
Ross hopes to have the 24-year-old in his first team plans before the end of the year.
"He's done three weeks of full training now.
"He's pretty much bang on 11 months now. My understanding of it is, with the type of injury he's had, you always estimate a 10-12 month period.
"Then there's an element attached to it with the potential of re-injury. The longer you can go within that timeframe, the less chance there is [of recurrence].
"That's important and why we've always worked to the latter end of the scale, rather than rushing him. I think he's appreciated me being consistent with that.
"I think in the very near future we'll get him some gametime, one way or another [U23's or behind closed doors].
"He's feeling really, really good in terms of his knee. He's getting little aches and pains, which he will do across other areas of his body.
"But to get to 11 months without rushing anything is a real positive thing.
"I keep going back to it, but we have to make sure that when he's back, he's back. For our sake and for his sake."
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Having Watmore in training is an exciting prospect for Ross, who has formed a strong bond with him after his summer arrival.
January is the on the horizon and so talk of new arrivals is inevitable.
But the successful return of Watmore would add unrivalled quality.
"It's been brilliant for us [having him train], how he is as a character and a personality has not been in doubt since day one," Ross said.
"He was one of the first people I met when I came into the job as he was one of the few people in the building at that time. That relationship we were able to build quite early. I enjoy his company and spending time with him, I like his attitude.
"But I'm really starting to see the qualities he brings on the pitch now," he added.
"We did some attacking work today and he was with the other guys who have been featuring lately. We had Aiden, George, Josh, Chris, Jerome, Lynden, Duncan, all these players, and the quality was brilliant.
"Duncan very much fits in with that but brings something a bit different as well.
"I'm prepared to wait but it is exciting for me. I could't go out and find a player of his ilk [to bring in]."
Maja and Gooch are fit for the trip to Plymouth after recent injury concerns but Jack Ross does have 'a couple' of injury doubts.
The return of Glenn Loovens, however, is a welcome boost.