Millwall boss taking cautious approach with Connor Mahoney after three-month absence

Connor Mahoney is close to a first-team return at Millwall – but manager Gary Rowett is not prepared to rush him after previous setbacks.

The winger has not played since the start of November after suffering a quad injury in training.

“He came back and felt it again, then did it again towards the end of his rehab and then came back and felt it again in an U23 game,” said Rowett.

“In theory he should never have been out so long, it’s just the way it’s gone. We’’re all disappointed he has been out this long, around 90 days. Obviously it is not ideal.

“He has worked hard with the medical team and I don’t think he is far away, but there becomes an element of caution that might come from me in some ways. I’m saying if he is due back tomorrow then why don’t we give him an extra week to make sure? We need players back but if they pick up any other injury we’re going to be facing the possibility of running out of players.

“He has been out a lot longer [than expected] and there is an element of frustration. I spoke about it before the season started – this was one where you needed a bit of luck and it would be who kept their squad healthy and key players fit. At the moment we haven’t quite managed that.”

Millwall are also missing Jake Cooper, Ryan Leonard, Murray Wallace, Kenneth Zohore and Maikel Kieftenbeld.

The latter is the most likely to be back first. Not that Rowett expects his selection options to change for tomorrow’s fixture at Luton Town.

“It is touch and go for Maikel. It is hard – I don’t want to bring Maikel back too soon and him to be out for four or five weeks with his hamstring.

“It is going to limit our options. There are certain formations we want to play but realistically we can’t play them – we haven’t got the right players in the right positions.

“I don’t see anyone coming into the squad on Tuesday that wasn’t in the squad Saturday.”

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