TONY Mowbray is delighted to have James Maddison back in the first team fold after the Sky Blues graduate made a welcome return to training last week.
The 19-year-old has missed much of the 2015/16 campaign after picking up an ankle injury at the beginning of the 2-1 defeat at Walsall back in August.
Maddison has missed 18 games through injury but returned to action on Monday for the club’s under-21s where he played just over an hour in a narrow 1-0 win.
He is expected to appear against Hull City under-21s next week and Mowbray hopes to have the youngster back in time for a busy festive period.
“We’ve missed him on the training ground if I’m being honest,” said Mowbray. “You can forget how good he is and when you see him back, it can take your breath away with the talent he has got.
“I’ve really enjoyed watching him this week. He’s back in full training now and it’s the first week where I don’t have our physios saying leave him out of this.
“He’s doing great. It’s exciting to watch how good he is with a ball, how he plays his way out of pressure and how he uses the ball. He sees passes that others don’t see.”
Mowbray is also hoping that on loan England star Joe Cole will be back in first team contention too as he continues to build up his match fitness.
“Joe Cole has worked hard on his fitness,” Mowbray added.
“He’s put in extra work this and there are a few that have been carrying knocks and niggles and we’ve used this week to work them back towards 100 per cent.
“We did 11v11 in training on Friday, a practice match almost and Joe impressed. He has some amazing talent, he picks it up and drives at people, goes either side with step overs.
“I’ve watched his career over many years and his talent is still there, it’s up to us get him through so he can contribute to the team. Joe’s happy to do that and Maddison and Cole were pretty exciting.
“They’re both really talented, we could play them together if we needed a goal or had to chase something, other times they’ll be on the bench and contribute in different ways. It’s a good problem to have – we can pick from Armstrong, Kent, Murphy, Lameiras, Fortune and Tudgay.
“We have some decent options in the forward part of the pitch and we’ve got to keep them all feeling involved.”