NEWPORT County AFC defender Matt Baker could be back in contention for the FA Cup clash with Manchester United after making good progress in his fitness race.

The Wales Under-21s international went off in the closing stages of last weekend’s 1-0 win at Doncaster after suffering a blow to his right ankle.

The Stoke loanee missed Tuesday’s FA Cup replay win at Eastleigh and manager Graham Coughlan said it looked to be at least a two-week injury.

Baker is still unlikely to feature against Wrexham in League Two on Saturday afternoon but could now be back in the mix for selection against the Red Devils a week on Sunday.

“Matt has made a little bit of progress, whether that is quick enough, I don’t know,” said Coughlan.

“We know Matty, he would say with one leg that he is fit and would run through brick walls, so it’s pointless asking the player.

“We will have to have a look at him and if not this Saturday then it will be next Saturday, because it’s not a long-term injury. That’s a good bit of news because we thought it would be longer.”

Defenders Josh Seberry and Declan Drysdale plus striker Omar Bogle remain on the long-term injury list but County’s treatment room is less crowded than it was in the autumn.

Left-back Adam Lewis played in the first half against both Doncaster and Eastleigh before pre-planned substitutions at the break as he works towards full fitness from a quad injury suffered in September.

South Wales Argus: BACK: Kyle Jameson is nearing a return from injury for CountyBACK: Kyle Jameson is nearing a return from injury for County (Image: Huw Evans Picture Agency)

Central defender Kyle Jameson has not played since August because of a hip problem but returned to the matchday squad on Tuesday.

The summer arrival from Tranmere was not a realistic option as a substitute at Eastleigh but will get the opportunity for action in an in-house 11 versus 11 game early next week.

“We wouldn’t have been able to put Kyle on the pitch. We had nine spaces on the bench and the two young lads, Harrison Bright and Nelson Sanca, would have probably got on ahead of him if needed,” said Coughlan.

“We brought Kyle with us to just be part of the group and integrate him back in but the games are too soon for him.

“I will try to get him 20 minutes or half an hour in an in-house game on Tuesday. That will be as good as we can get.

“We gave him a feel of being back around the squad because he has a voice and leadership qualities. There were a lot of positives from doing that and we have got a good bank of work into him.

“Hopefully we can keep building him over the next two weeks he will be up to speed and available, then realistically we can take him off the bench for some action.”

South Wales Argus: COMEBACK: County striker Offrande ZanzalaCOMEBACK: County striker Offrande Zanzala (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Striker Offrande Zanzala is then the next potential returnee after being out of action since February because of ruptured knee ligaments.

“Oz needs three to four weeks of contact training on the grass. How we get that into him given our schedule is a little bit difficult,” said the manager.

“He has done a session with the youth team to build up fitness and will join in with us on Friday morning.

“It’s touch and go whether I can put him in for the 11 versus 11 in-house game, I will have to sit with the medical experts.

“Me and Oz will be twisting their arms but Sophie [Birnie, physio] and Scott [Wickens, head of performance] are quite strong!

“They will look longer term and we are probably looking mid-February for him to be up to speed and ready for selection in the squad. It’s been a long process for him and tough as well.”