GRANT Hall is poised to return to full training with Swindon Town next week after completing his rehabilitation from a calf injury at parent club Tottenham.
Hall, who has made 33 appearances for the Robins during his season-long loan stint in Wiltshire, has not featured since being stretchered off during Town’s 2-0 defeat at Gillingham on January 18.
The 22-year-old was originally ruled out for between six and eight weeks and the diagnosis appears to have been fairly accurate, according to Swindon manager Mark Cooper.
He told the Advertiser: “We’re waiting for him, he’s done most of his rehab at Tottenham. I think he’s going to play in a practice game there next week and then he should be back.
“He’s been down for Paul (Godfrey, Town physio) to have a look at him, I think he’s nearly there now so by the end of next week he should be back with us.”
Meanwhile, having been rested for the trip to Bristol City last weekend, Town captain Darren Ward is available for selection once again when Preston North End arrive at the County Ground tomorrow, and Cooper praised the veteran defender for the way he dealt with being stood down at Ashton Gate.
“Darren’s been an ultimate professional and if we think it’s right to put him back in the team we’ll put him back in,” he said.
Troy Archibald-Henville and Jack Stephens performed admirably at the heart of the Robins’ defence in Ward’s absence but Cooper remained coy when questioned about the selection headache he now faces.
“He (Troy) has trained this week as much as he can so he will be in the squad for the weekend. If he plays he’ll be a part,” he said. “If he plays like he did on Saturday he’ll be able to deal with most things.
“I think (Stephens) really enjoyed the experience and you read his quotes from the week and I think he thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere and playing first-team football. No matter how many under 21 games you play you can’t replicate that first-team football effect. It will do him good.
“Yes, he did well on Saturday but that’s one game and we’re just looking for him to come in and do what he does. He can defend high up the pitch, he’s comfortable on the ball and he’s got decent pace. We’re looking forward to working with him.”