CHARLIE Mulgrew has thrown his hat in to the ring to make a surprise return to the Blackburn Rovers squad for Saturday’s trip to his former club Wolves.
Head coach Tony Mowbray admitted he was preparing to be without the Scotland international for the remainder of the campaign after he suffered an ankle ligament injury in the 3-1 defeat at Reading on April 4.
But the 31-year-old never gave up hope of returning to the fold before the season’s end, and after getting a week’s training under his belt, is ready to make his return.
“The ankle feels great – and I feel ready to go on Saturday and hopefully I can help by doing my bit,” said Mulgrew.
“At one point it was looking unlikely, but I always had an eye on maybe getting back for the last game but the ankle feels great and I feel ready to go.
“The ankle feels brand new and I’m ready to go.
“If I’m involved and I can get on the pitch then I will do all I can to help the team.”
Mulgrew left the Madejski Stadium with his ankle in a protective boot after being stretchered off in just the ninth minute.
Of the injury, he added: “I jumped up and then a couple of players have landed on top of me and I ended up rupturing my anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) in my ankle, which apparently a lot of footballers don’t even have that ligament.
“I did some balance work last Tuesday and it felt good and the more I warmed up on it, I went for a jog, and it felt fine.
“I thought then I might have a chance of training at the early part of this week and it’s all gone to plan so I’m delighted.”
Mulgrew’s return to the squad could coincide with fellow central defender Darragh Lenihan and joint top scorer Danny Graham coming back in to the fold after their respective injuries.
That will certainly give Rovers a lift going in to their remaining three games which follow on from their haul of four points out of six over the Easter period.
He added: “We wanted more than that, but it is what it is, we know what we need to do and we’re fully focussed on the challenge ahead.
“It’s been more nerve-wracking watching than being involved but I’m just glad that I can come back and contribute between now and the end of the season.
“Everybody knows what we need to do, we need to fight for the cause and work hard and pick up points, but we need to find wins and that needs to start on Saturday.”
Mulgrew has made 27 appearances in his debut season at Ewood Park, but injuries restricted him to just nine outings in his two years at Wolves between 2006 and 2008.
It will also be a reunion for Rovers and their former boss Paul Lambert who has been at the Molineux helm since November.
Mulgrew added: “It will be good to go back, a good club, but there are more important issues and that’s Blackburn Rovers and we’ll be going there looking to win the games.
“I enjoyed my time at Wolves, but this is a different time and it’s a huge challenge we have ahead of us.
“They are well organised and I’m sure Paul Lambert will have them up for it, they will probably start as favourites, but as we have seen in this league anybody can beat anybody.”