SWINDON Town hope to have Ryan Mason back for the final three to four weeks of the season after the midfielder underwent an ankle operation on Monday.
Advertiser sources have suggested that Mason’s expected rehabilitation period is around six weeks, at which point he will see a specialist to determine whether or not he is fit enough to resume training with the Robins, but the official line from Town manager Mark Cooper yesterday was more optimistic.
He revealed that Mason needed to go under the knife to remove “debris and floating bone” from his ankle but that he could be back in action by mid-April.
Cooper said: “It was more or less a cleanout operation. He had some debris and bits of floating bone, I believe, in his ankle so that needed cleaning out and I’m sure once that’s been done and it’s calmed down we may see him for the last three or four weeks.
“He’s a brilliant footballer and it’s just a problem getting him on the pitch at the moment. I’m sure somewhere along the line he’ll put 20 or 30 games together and be a terrific player.”
Meanwhile, Alex Pritchard has returned to full training and looks set to start for Swindon against MK Dons this weekend after recovering from a medial ligament strain.
“He trained today (Thursday),” Cooper said. “You have to be careful with medial knee ligament injuries because they’re horrible to get rid of, they linger and there’s always a chance it can go again. We’ve got to be fair to Alex and we don’t want that to happen.
“We have to make sure first of all that he’s 100 per cent fit and in my opinion, at the moment, with the way he’s playing if he’s fit he plays because he’s an outstanding footballer.”
Massimo Luongo and Yaser Kasim are both due back in training today after making their international debuts for Australia and Iraq in midweek. While Cooper is confident Luongo will be okay to start against MK Dons, he is not so certain about Kasim.
“Massimo will be fine. He didn’t play many minutes and he will play,” he said. “Yaser unfortunately played 90 minutes but the game was very stop-start, very slow and hopefully it’s not taken too much out of Yaser.”
Meanwhile, Town’s managerial team will have discussions with Jay McEveley and his surgeon this week to decide when the left-back goes under the knife.
McEveley needs a bone in his knee either shaved or removed at some point in the next few months but could still feature for the Robins first if required.
However, Cooper has revealed that no date has yet been set for the full-back’s operation, saying: “Jay somewhere along the line will need another cleanout of his knee so we’re speaking with a surgeon to decide whether it’s best to get that done ASAP or to target one or two games this month and then get it done towards the end of the season.
“We’ll speak to Jay, speak to the surgeon and see which way we’ll go.”