Terry McPhillips says injured Blackpool captain Jimmy Ryan is back running and on course for a January return.
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Ryan, 30, underwent knee surgery in September but McPhillips says the midfielder was able to run at Bloomfield Road on Thursday.
Ryan suffered the knee injury in Blackpool’s final game of last season at Rotherham United and has not played since.
Manager McPhillips said: “Jimmy’s running now and is ahead of schedule. It will still be the New Year but he is doing well.
“You never really know until you step it up. When he joins in again and starts the ball work you will really find out how close he is.”
Pool’s other long-term absentee Max Clayton (hamstring) has attended the FA’s National Football Centre in Staffordshire to speed up his recovery. McPhillips revealed: “Max has had a couple of weeks at St George’s.”
Joe Bunney is getting closer to a return according to the manager, who said he is “looking good in training”.
McPhillips says midfielder Callum Guy was taken off as a precaution in last Saturday’s win at Southend United but admits he is “touch and go” for today’s home clash with Burton Albion.
Pool have an otherwise healthy squad, and with visits to Doncaster Rovers and Solihull Moors (in the FA Cup second round) over the coming week, McPhillips is pleased with the competition for places.
Forward Rowan Roache has joined National League North club FC United of Manchester on a 28-day loan.
The 18-year-old, who made his first four senior Pool appearances last season but is yet to feature this term, has recently resumed training after a foot injury.