Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Dean Henderson may not play again this season, boss Steve Cooper has said.
Henderson, on loan from Manchester United, has been out since January with an ankle injury, but was due to return to training last week only for a “small setback” to hamper his progress.
With seven games to go in Forest’s battle for Premier League survival, Cooper is not sure the 26-year-old will recover in time to feature again.
“He’s not back in training. He’s not really any closer,” Cooper said to reporters in his press conference to preview Saturday’s trip to Liverpool.
“He’s still in the medical room, unfortunately, so we’ll see where that takes us in the next week or so.
“I hope he will play again this season, but I don’t know, to be honest. It’s a bit inconclusive on that, so we’ll see.
“It’s just been ongoing. There has been a small setback.
“The other thing with Dean is he’s a Man United player and you have to work in conjunction with them. They have been absolutely great and the communication has been really good. There has been a lot of joined-up thinking, because you have to do that – we would expect the same with our players out on loan.
“He’s had a small setback, in terms of his recovery, but he is working hard. He’s frustrated, as you can imagine. Let’s see when he’s ready to come back.”
Forest have slipped back into the relegation zone after a 10-game winless run and things do not get any easier when they visit Anfield.
The Reds won the reverse fixture at the City Ground in October, but Cooper says that will have no bearing on Saturday’s clash.
“The win earlier this season was a really good example of giving everything on the pitch,” he said.
“Liverpool are a brilliant team, they showed it at Leeds and have done on many occasions this year. They have brilliant players and a brilliant manager and it’s going to take everything to get a positive result, but we’ve got to believe.
“We don’t compare the two games as it’s two different teams at different stages of the season, but we know if we get it right we can have good days.
“We’re in control of that and we’re always in control of our performances. That’s where we’ve got to stay focused and do our very best to turn things around.
“We’re on a poor run and could have done certain things better but we’ve got to look forward and look to improve.”