Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic squad has been pushed to its very limit this season.
It’s been a poor start to the campaign but the ongoing injury crisis at the club has contributed to the lacklustre start of the threadbare squad.
Some key pieces have been missing in recent weeks despite the returns of Kyogo Furuhashi and Callum McGregor. However, some could be back sooner rather than later, the Daily Record reports.
The international break has allowed the Australian to take stock of his squad – and boost player fitness ahead of the clash with Motherwell.
Here are five players who are in line for an imminent comeback under Postecoglou.
The Frenchman has been sidelined for 10 months after injuring his knee against Dundee United on December 30, but there is now light at the end of the tunnel.
The 28-year-old’s recovery has been a painstaking process but is set to finally return to first-team training ahead of the international break.
While Celtic have been slack at the back so far this season, Postecoglou has admitted he won’t throw Jullien in at the deep end with the new style of play.
He has stated: “It will depend on their levels of fitness and how quickly they adapt to what we want to do with our football.”
It’s been 18 months of frustration for the winger.
Forrest missed most of last season due to a stress fracture in his ankle. He returned at the end of the campaign but has suffered muscular issues as he gets back up to speed.
Postecoglou has indicated he’ll be back training with the first team after the international break, but won’t rush the 30-year-old back. He states he will be back with the group following Scotland’s clash with the Faroe Islands or “not long after”.
Having suffered an injury in Wales during Celtic’s pre-season training camp, Mikey Johnston has made just one competitive appearance for Postecoglou.
Having come off the bench in the defeat to Livingston, the 22-year-old has dropped out of the squad again due to niggling injury issues.
Postecoglou has stated he is a “couple of weeks away” from full fitness as the international break comes to a close, but a cameo off the bench against Motherwell or Ferencvaros would be a welcome sight for the Parkhead faithful.
Croatia international Juranovic looks set to return to the side ahead of a massive week for the club.
He has missed his country’s international double header due to picking up a hamstring knock against Dundee United at Parkhead last month.
However, with the player on the sidelines for three weeks Postecoglou is “hopeful” he will be back for the game against Motherwell and the Europa League clash with Ferencvaros.
The right-back has been deployed on the left-flank as cover for crocked Greg Taylor, so it could be a massive boost for the backline.
Summer signing Giorgos Giakoumakis has taken time to get up to speed since his move from the Eredivise.
The Greek striker was top-scorer in the Dutch top flight last season, but has only made one appearance for his new club.
Postecoglou has given Giakoumakis the time to get up to speed with his only appearance in the green and white coming off the bench in the drubbing from Bayer Leverkusen.
The Australian has admitted “he needs a bit of work” but could be given a run-out at Fir Park.
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