JAKE Buxton will have team selection options as the Brewers face Portsmouth on Saturday with players back from both suspension and injury.
Defender John-Joe O’Toole and goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara are both available again after completing their respective bans, while Charles Vernam and Neal Eardley are the furthest ahead of the players coming back from knocks.
Buxton has strong competition now in the goalkeeping department, but O’Hara may not be ready to challenge for the shirt just yet.
The manager said: “Kieran hasn’t played a competitive game since February, but we have seen an improvement since the day he came in and you can see he has got his eye in. He has had a friendly game against Derby’s Under 23s. He probably needs another game in all honesty. I might throw him in, but with us having the EFL Trophy against Cambridge on Tuesday night there is a high chance he will play in that.”
On the injury front, Vernam has been declared fit and Eardley is getting there.
Buxton said: “Charles has trained fully with the group. He didn’t manage to get through the session last Friday so missed out at Swindon, but he has had more days with the physio and trained with the group today. He’s fully fit and available for selection on Saturday.
“Neal is back on the grass, but Saturday might be a bit too quick for him. It would be silly to rush him with the amount of time he has missed with his quad injury.”
Michael Bostwick and Reece Hutchinson will be the only players definitely ruled out with injury.
Buxton therefore maybe tempted to make changes with players like Stephen Quinn maybe given a breather.
He said: “There is the possibility to freshen it up. Stephen came off on Saturday. He had been a warrior for us to get through Villa and Accrington and maybe it was one too many for him at Swindon.
“We have talked about building a competitive squad. The lads who have played have done well in previous games but we need extra bodies to support that group and push them for a starting place and when they do it’s up to those players to take their opportunity.”