Jesse Marsch has told his pre-match press conference that Archie Gray will move a step closer to returning imminently, with the Leeds United youngster set to start working on the grass again tomorrow.
It has been a frustrating start to the season for Gray. The 16-year-old was named on the bench for the Premier League opener against Wolves back in August.
Unfortunately, Gray has been sidelined over the last few weeks with a toe injury. And that has obviously dashed any hope of the midfielder making his first-team debut for now.
Archie Gray edging closer to return
It would appear that he is still unlikely to be in contention anytime soon. But he is making progress, with Marsch issuing an encouraging update right at the start of his press conference.
“Archie Gray will be, we think, on the pitch tomorrow so starting to get closer to training with the full team,” he said.
The World Cup is somewhat beneficial for players such as Gray. He has time to recover from injury. And he will be absent for fewer games.
Of course, it would be asking a lot for Gray to make his first-team debut anytime soon. Leeds remain in a precarious situation in the Premier League. So it would not necessarily be fair to use him.
However, Gray did not look out of place when he got a chance in pre-season. So it is certainly not out of the question for the teenager to get that competitive debut this term.
Marsch has also shown little fear when it comes to using some of the younger players.
Crysencio Summerville is now very much a first-team player. Willy Gnonto made his debut at the weekend. And the likes of Sam Greenwood and Joe Gelhardt are regular fixtures in the match day squad.
Gray is obviously a lot younger. And rushing him will not do him any favours. But there will be a lot of intrigue to see how close he is to the first-team fold upon his return from injury.