Ross County’s Michael Gardyne is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a broken foot with the Staggies winger to return to running today.
Gardyne has been sidelined since he suffered the injury in the early stages of County’s 5-1 victory over tomorrow’s opponents Dundee United on September 29, with the 32-year-old having faced an absence of up to three months.
Although Gardyne is likely to be another four weeks away from returning to action, co-manager Stuart Kettlewell has been heartened by the progress the Staggies’ all-time leading goalscorer and club record appearance holder has made.
Kettlewell said: “Michael’s coming along great. He is probably ahead of where he should be in the circumstances.
“It is just good to see him back with a smile on his face. He’s never been injured – he’s 32 now and I don’t ever remember him having a serious injury.
“That can be a bit of a curve-ball for a player so late in his career, but he’s taken it really well and is working exceptionally hard.
“He is on an anti-gravity machine, a special treadmill, but this will actually be his first stage of his progress in terms of getting on a machine and starting to run.
“That’s the first big step for him. That will be a huge plus for us if we can get him moving in the right direction.
“We’re probably still looking at another three or four weeks before we get a clear indication of when he’ll be back on the pitch.
“We don’t want to set him a target that’s not achievable but I think we’re looking at closer to the turn of the year.
“If we get him back before that it will be a major bonus.”
County’s resounding victory at Tannadice proved to be Csaba Laszlo’s final game in charge of United, with his replacement Robbie Neilson still unbeaten since arriving last month.
Despite County already having defeated the Tangerines twice this term, Kettlewell is wary of a rejuvenated side at Victoria Park tomorrow, adding: “We’ve had two encounters with United already this season and performed pretty well in both. The 5-1 game was the stand-out, obviously.
“It certainly doesn’t give any guarantee we’re going to win the game, but it is a real good positive for us.
“We need to come up with the formula we think will work on Saturday. It will be slightly different because it is a different managerial team and they will be set out slightly differently, with different principles.
“We’ve tried to familiarise ourselves with that this week to see how we can counter that and see what works for us.”