Jake Forster-Caskey is yet to feature for Charlton this season having sustained a nasty knee injury days before the first game, although Lee Bowyer was able to provide positive news in his pre-Plymouth Argyle press conference this week.
The Addicks boss was visibly pleased to be able to give an exciting update on where the midfielder is in his recovery, although he was quick to warn the player that he must be careful not to rush back, regardless of where their season may take them.
Speaking in the days before Charlton’s trip to Home Park, the 42-year-old said:
“Jake is back training properly now, contact. We have to be careful with him. It will have to be a steady process with him but I think we’re full strength. Whether Jake plays depends on him. Without being stupid, if he can get to the level that the other lads are on then he will be in amongst it. Jake has got a lot of catch-up to do in a short space of time.
“I hope that he can, because I’d love to have him in and around the squad by the end of the season but it’s something we have to tread carefully with and just judge day-by-day, week-by-week and see where he gets to. He’s got to play for the U23s, there is still a way to go but the good thing is that he is back training with us.”
Indeed, when it comes to long-term injuries like the one Forster-Caskey sustained, it is paramount that a return to each stage is timed perfectly, otherwise he runs the risk of a recurrence either in the long term or immediately.
The 24-year-old is understandably keen to return before the end of the campaign – something which could be greatly aided by the Addicks reaching the play-offs – but Bowyer has stressed that he must not be stupid as he fights for full fitness.
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It would be a huge shame if the former Brighton man didn’t feature once this campaign but it’s clear that Bowyer would prefer for that to happen and have the star back at full strength for next term than to risk him too early and be without him for a number of months, once again.