Dru Yearwood is ‘tantalisingly close’ to a return for Southend United according to manager Chris Powell.
The 18-year-old midfielder is yet to feature for Blues this season, missing out due to a hamstring injury.
But Powell expects Saturday's game against Fleetwood to come too soon for Yearwood, despite making good progress in training.
“I wish I could say Dru is available. He’s very close, tantalisingly close, but I’m not too sure he will be ready for this one, even though we need him,” said Powell.
“He’s proved himself, even at a young age, to be a very good player for us.
“I’ll never forgive myself if I put him in too early. I want him available for what could be 35 games, and I want him available for those instead of putting him in for one and then putting him out for another 10 or 15 games.
“I’m trying to let my head rule my heart with him. He’s building up brilliantly and looking so good in training in all the work we do.
“He’s looking very good. I go to sleep at night thinking ‘I’m going to put him in’, but I do have to listen to him as well.
“He missed all his pre-season when he had a setback but he’s on his way now which is a real positive.”
Elsewhere, Powell doesn’t expect anyone else to return to the squad or miss out from the one that was involved against Shrewsbury Town.
“We’ve had a few knocks and aches and pains but I’m hopeful that everyone will be available for selection.
“There’s some young boys staking a claim to be in the 18, people like Michael Klass and Isaac Hutchinson, so we’ll see.
“Whatever eleven reports for duty and is on duty from the moment we hand in the teamsheet at 2.45 on Saturday, they’re the ones entrusted to do their best to get a result.”