Florent Cuvelier was today ruled out of Walsall’s Coventry clash with the Saddlers still sweating on the crocked star.
The loanee is at parent club Stoke receiving treatment on the hamstring he originally damaged over a month ago. He suffered a setback two weeks ago and the Saddlers were hopeful he would return for tomorrow’s trip to the Sky Blues.
But boss Dean Smith does not expect him in training until next week – and targeted the Yeovil game on December 15 as a potential comeback.
He said: “He’s still at Stoke getting fit.
“He’s back on the grass but he’s a little while off yet. We’re more hopeful for Yeovil than anything else and we don’t want to push him and have a setback.
“We thought he was fit to go, Stoke thought he was fit to train and he went out there and was flying and then just felt it a couple of weeks ago.
“That’s knocked him back a bit.
“I’d expect him back next week, probably early next week to start training.”
Cuvelier’s loan from the Potters expires next month and Walsall are keen to keep him but are yet to formally discuss extending it with the Premier League side.
He missed the squad’s bonding trip to Snowdonia last week and, with time running out on his loan, Smith admitted the Belgian under-21 international has been a frustrated figure.
“He didn’t come with us to Snowdonia, it would have been too much of a risk, but he’s been in regular contact,” he said.
“He’s a very frustrated person.
“He wants to play football and really enjoys it here so it’s been disappointing.
“It’s what happens, though, and you can’t control it.”
The Saddlers brought in loan signing Sam Mantom from Albion to plug the gap left by Cuvelier and have drawn their last three games – extending their winless run to 14 in all competitions.
They sit 19th in League One, four places and two points behind Coventry, who were issued with a £1.1m bill for unpaid rent on the Ricoh Arena this week.
Smith added: “It’s a big club, they have some off-field problems but on the pitch Mark (Robins, boss) has gone in there and done really well.”