Leeds United striker Caleb Ekuban is on the verge of a return to training after almost two months out with a broken foot.
Head coach Thomas Christiansen said Ekuban had reached the “last steps” of his recovery and was close to resuming work with United’s first-team squad.
Ekuban has been missing since breaking a foot bone in the second half of a 2-0 win at Sunderland on August 19.
The Ghanaian forward made his league debut at the Stadium of Light but was forced from the field after 62 minutes having pulled up at the end of a counter-attack.
Leeds sent him for surgery the following week and expected Ekuban to be missing for at least eight weeks.
Ekuban has already completed a number of running sessions and is set to begin full training in the weeks ahead.
Christiansen: “He’s getting much closer. He’s already gone out on runs and we’re on the last steps for him to join in with the group.”
Ekuban’s injury has limited him to two appearances since his £500,000 move from Chievo in July.
Christiansen watched him start and score in a League Cup win over Port Vale in the first week of the season and called on Ekuban to lead the line at Sunderland after a deal to sell Chris Wood to Burnley was agreed shortly before kick-off.
Leeds invested a six-figure fee in Ekuban after he scored 17 times in 34 games for for Partizani Tirana during a loan in the Albanian top flight last season.
The 23-year-old is expected to be United’s only injury absentee during today’s Championship meeting with Reading at Elland Road.
Meanwhile, United’s Under-23s earned their second win of the season at home to Crewe Alexandra yesterday.
Spanish midfielder Alex Machuca sealed a 1-0 victory at Thorp Arch with an 84th-minute strike.