GARY Rowett says Chris Hussey has a big opportunity at Burton Albion after the left-sided player was recalled from his loan at Bury.
The 25-year-old ex-Coventry City man has a chance to stake his claim for a play-off place as the Brewers gear up for the end-of-season showdown.
“It’s a great opportunity for him to come back and have the same sort of impact as he had when he first arrived at the club, and had when he joined Bury,” said Albion boss Rowett.
“It could be crucial for us at this stage.”
With left-back Damien McCrory and winger Jimmy Phillips both out for the season with knee injuries, and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff (Achilles) out until the second leg of the semi-finals at least, on-loan Sheffield United prospect Callum McFadzean was the only natural left-sided player left at the club.
Hussey is expected to challenge for either the left-back or left wing slot in Saturday’s game at Southend ahead of the play-offs.
“With Shane and Damo injured, Callum McFadzean is the only natural left-back or potential left-back in the squad, so it was wise to bring Chris back from his loan,” said Rowett.
Hussey was outstanding as the Brewers started the season with a bang, but then faded as the months went by.
He eventually lost his left wing position to Phillips and with McCrory outstanding again at the back this season, Hussey joined Bury to get some matches under his belt.
Rowett hopes the Londoner can have the same impact as he had at the start of the season, where he scored three goals in his first four matches.
“For the first 10 or 15 games he was as good as any left-sided midfielder in League Two or the league above - he was absolutely fantastic,” said the manager.
“He then got frustrated at not getting as many games as he would’ve liked, and with a player like him he wants to play so it made sense to get him out on loan.
“He’s had 10 or 15 games at Bury and really enjoyed it.
“I’m looking for him to bring that back to Burton for the big games we’ve got.
“When a player comes in and plays a new position like Chris did on the left of midfield - he hadn’t played there for a while - they really relish it for that initial period.
“Trying to maintain such a good start isn’t easy - few players can maintain that level in any position.
“Jimmy then came in after Christmas and was very, very good and it was difficult for Chris to get back in.”
Cansdell-Sherriff, meanwhile, is on course to be fit for the second leg of the play-off semi-finals.
“He’s making good progress,” said Rowett. “He won’t be right for this week or the first leg though.”
Keeper Rob Lainton is also progressing well with the finger injury he sustained at Northampton.