The Football League Paper - - WHERE ARE THEY NOW? -

STEVE Bruce hopes to have key de­fender Ritchie de Laet back in time for next sea­son, along with mid­fielder Birkir Bjar­na­son and goal­keeper Jed Steer.

The trio have been on the side­lines for some time, with De Laet, 28, and Bjar­na­son, 28, out with knee prob­lems and Steer, 24, an Achilles in­jury.

“Ritchie, Birkir and Jed are mak­ing progress,” said Bruce.

“I don’t think they’re go­ing to take any part in the sea­son now.

“But we ex­pect them to be tak­ing part in pre­sea­son and ready and avail­able, fit enough to be in con­tention for the start of next sea­son.”

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