ROVERS defender Darragh Lenihan could step up his rehabilitation in the coming days as he closes in on a return to fitness after a five month absence.

Lenihan underwent surgery in September on a fractured metatarsal and hasn’t played for Rovers since the opening day defeat at Southend United.

The 23-year-old endured a slight setback but manager Tony Mowbray is hopeful that his recovery is moving in the right direction.

The return of centre back Lenihan will be a big boost heading into the closing stages of the season, though Mowbray has been keen to ensure that the Irishman is given all the time possible to return.

The manager said: “I think he is back to where he was last week after he had a bit of a setback.

“He took the foot off the gas a little bit because he had to, he was pushing hard but not a setback that’s been too long.

“He’s now back, he did a lot of running on Wednesday and he’s building it up.

“If you want a scenario it’s like once you can walk you can jog, once you can jog you can run, once you can run you can sprint and once you can sprint you can start kicking a ball.

“He’s probably at the scenario of that he can run and he’s looking to do some high intensity running next and just build it up.

“As soon as he feels comfortable with his high intensity running then he can start to sprint and hopefully by the end of the week or early next week he can start kicking a ball.

“Before we know it he is back training and ready to play a game in the next couple of weeks.”