Barnsley are likely to be without defender Toby Sibbick for the visit of Derby County this weekend due to injury.
The 21-year-old joins midfielder Romal Palmer in being a doubt for the Championship clash, which comes five days before a high-profile FA Cup tie with Chelsea.
Sibbick has played in Barnsley’s last five matches, and started the past three, after not playing a single game for almost an entire year.
Palmer, 22, also started three times in succession before picking up a minor hamstring injury which saw him miss the Reds’ goalless draw with Nottingham Forest last weekend.
Barnsley head coach Valerien Ismael believes that the new-found run in the first team might have contributed to the pair’s injury, as he provided The72 with an update on his squad ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Derby.
“We have some issues with Romal Palmer and Toby Sibbick,” he said. “It’s normal, both didn’t play for a long time and now they came back and played two or three games in a row.
“It’s small injuries, nothing big, but we will see if it is enough for the game on Saturday or if we have to wait for the next game. We don’t want to take any risks because we will have a busy schedule in February and will need all the players.”
Palmer is back doing some training as he makes his recovery, and Ismael added of him: “He looked good yesterday in individual training with sports science. I think we have to wait but we don’t want to take any risks for the game on Saturday, to be sure Romal can come back next week and to start the busy schedule.”
Sibbick joins the list of injuries affecting Barnsley’s backline, with three other defenders currently out of action.
Finnish centre-back Aapo Halme is closing in on a return, having been absent since fracturing a toe in December. His comeback was thwarted by a fresh muscular injury but he is now edging towards a return to training.
“It’s a good feeling as well I hope,” Ismael said of the former Leeds United man. “Maybe (at the) end of the week or early in the next week he can join the team.”
The picture looks less promising for another central defender, however, with Liam Kitching still a number of weeks away at least in his recovery from a groin injury.
Signed from Forest Green Rovers in early January, Kitching is still waiting to make his debut for Barnsley, but Ismael has said that he must be patient in his recovery.
“He is progressing but slowly,” said the Reds chief. “We don’t want to put pressure on the player, we need to take the pressure off because he is frustrated.
“A new player with a big motivation, and his personality is like that, he always wants to give everything. We have to protect him now and say ‘you have time’.
“He’s signed a long-term contract and we know exactly what he can do and we will have a lot of joy with him, but for now we need to be patient with his comeback.”
Barnsley are also without the services of full-back Ben Williams, who is expected to miss the rest of the campaign with an ACL injury suffered in pre-season.
There is, however, a chance of striker Daryl Dike making a debut for the club following his loan signing from Orlando City on deadline day.