AFC Bournemouth defender Elliott Ward is set to make a return to action for the development squad against Luton Town.
The Cherries centre back had a second operation on his injured knee in August.
Ward initially suffered a knee injury in February when he clashed with an advertising board during the defeat with eventual champions Leicester City.
He underwent an operation in May and missed the Cherries pre-season programme, but returned to play in the League Cup match with Exeter City.
Unfortunately he suffered some swelling following the match and he travelled to Rome to be assessed at the Villa Stuart Sport Clinic.
Following that assessment it was decided that he would undergo further surgery in a bid to repair the damaged knee.
Since the surgery Ward has been working through a long rehabilitation programme, which will finally see him get his first game against Luton for the development squad.
However AFC Bournemouth assistant manager Jason Tindall insists that it will still be some time before he will be in contention for the first team.
Tindall told the Daily Echo…
“It has been a long rehabilitation programme for Elliott and, when you have had a knee injury like he has, there is never a quick fix and it is something you have to take care with.
“He has been training for the past few weeks and, so far, has come through with no reaction and no problem. The next step on the road to recovery is getting some minutes and competitive football under his belt, starting with this game against Luton.
“He will probably need at least three or four games to get back to being in contention for the first team. When you have been out for such a long period of time, it is a slow process getting to the final stages of your recovery and the last thing you want to do is rush back, play one game and potentially set yourself back because you weren`t ready.
“This game is the next stage of his recovery and we will assess him afterwards to see if there is any reaction. If he comes through then we would look to get him back into training on a day-to-day basis and get his match fitness levels in line with the rest of the group as quickly as we can but without taking any risks.”
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