It may be increasingly likely that Jordan Houghton will return to Doncaster Rovers on loan but it will be a long time before he is seen in the red and white hoops again.
Houghton is currently recovering from knee ligament damage suffered during his loan spell with Rovers last season.
And while the Chelsea midfielder’s recovery is well ahead of schedule, he is unlikely to be fit to play again until mid-September, Rovers boss Darren Ferguson has revealed.
“Jordan is not going to be fully fit to play in our games until the middle of September,” Ferguson told The Star.
“We’re negotiating with Chelsea over what we can do with him.
“Jordan would be a signing that we’d look to get done pretty soon, then getting one or two others in after that.”
The defensive midfield role in which Houghton operated for much of last season has become somewhat of a headache for Ferguson with the season rapidly approaching.
Luke McCullough – whom Houghton was brought in to cover for last season after the Northern Ireland international’s cruciate ligament injury – will certainly miss the start of the season due to a knee injury.
But Ferguson remains confident he has enough cover in stock to see Rovers through until either Houghton or McCullough is fit.
“Niall Mason can play in there,” he said. “Ben Whiteman can comfortably play in there.
“I’m not worried about that.”
Rovers head to Tadcaster Albion today for their second friendly of the summer.
Ferguson confirmed he is set to hand two different line-ups 45 minutes apiece, as he did in Tuesday’s 9-0 win at Armthorpe Welfare.
Alex Kiwomya and Craig Alcock are set to miss out along with McCullough but Mathieu Baudry is set to return after missing the Armthorpe game as a precaution.