Boss provides Gary Gardner update

Gary Gardner.
Gary Gardner.

I hope we can get him back to fitness as quick as possible and he can be in contention again.

Pep Clotet.

Pep Clotet says he expects Gary Gardner to return to full training next week.

The midfielder has been sidelined since mid-October after sustaining a knee injury during Blues' away defeat at Leeds United.

"Gary is already working outside on the pitch with the group," confirmed Clotet.

"Then in the main part of the session he is working with the medical staff.

"We expect him to be back with us next week for normal training and then it's about how he feels.

"I do know that he's been quicker, and he feels much better than we expected.

"I hope we can get him back to fitness as quickly as possible and he can be in contention again."

Meanwhile, Clotet said that he also feels that fellow midfielder Josh McEachran is edging closer to reaching the levels of fitness that he expects to make him competitive.

McEachran joined Blues as a free agent in September, having not a pre-season.

Clotet revealed that the whole Blues squad undertook fitness tests during the international break and McEachran's results showed he had made good progress.

"He did the test and he did very well," continued Clotet.

"Actually, he was better than expected.

"It was a long time since he last played regularly, but he's putting in all the effort that he can to make sure he's ready, so that's good.

"We have a lot of games now from now until Christmas, so everyone will make a difference.

"I see him very focused on using this opportunity to get back as strong as possible and he's putting in the right steps in the right direction."