The England Under-21 international has been sidelined since the end of last season with a hamstring injury, and Woodgate and the club's medical department weren’t taking any chances by rushing the player back too early.

“The medical staff have been great and the manager has as well,” said Fry.

“He’s been through injuries as a player and came back early at times, so he’s always cautious, and that’s been good.

“It’s better to miss three or four games at the start of the season and come back right instead of taking any risks, coming back too early, and then missing other games down the line.

“I’ve watched the games and it is frustrating because you want to get out and play, but the time is coming now, and I’m feeling good and confident.”

Speaking after the Blackburn game on Saturday, Woodgate said Fry was likely to return to the first team squad this week with home games against Wigan Athletic and Millwall on the agenda.

The club’s head coach was at Bishop Auckland on Friday to watch Fry make his comeback by playing 60 minutes for our U23s against Stoke.

“It was good to get a run-out,” added Fry. “60 minutes was a good time. I didn’t try and do anything stupid, and I felt good.”

While Fry is back in action, fellow defender Hayden Coulson is sidelined with a thigh injury and could be out until after the international break.

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