Paddy McBrearty hopes to be back in a Donegal shirt for their Ulster Championship quarter-final against Fermanagh on May 26th according to teammate Stephen McMenamin.
The forward has been out of action since suffering a knee injury against Fermanagh in last year's Ulster final.
"I’d say last week and this week he’s easing himself in, he’s not going to go full tear at anything," said McMenamin regarding McBrearty's return to training.
I’d say he’s going to step into drills, step out of drills, he’s going to pace himself, he’s not going to rush into anything.
I’d say Paddy’s plan is to be back for Championship first round against Fermanagh. Paddy knows himself that if he’s not right, he won’t be risking it. Paddy will be a massive addition to the Donegal team whenever we get him back.
The forwards at the minute will be looking over their shoulders seeing Paddy back training. Paddy is going to be coming back thinking he'll need to earn his spot. The training [sessions] have been getting better and better.
Even getting the likes of Michael [Murphy] back there in the last few weeks, Frank [McGlynn]; training is always improving and that's how we improve in a team.
After winning their opening two games of the Allianz Football League Division 2, Donegal subsequently lost to Tipperary and Fermanagh. Michael Murphy returned to the team in the following game against Armagh and their fortunes took an upturn. They won their final three games, earning promotion and a spot in this weekend's Division 2 final against Meath.
"We’ve got a lot of the older players back," said McMenamin.
"We’ve been playing a lot of the league with a younger team, a younger squad, starting fresh. It’s hard to play well without your leaders. The likes of having Michael back, Leo, Frank’s back training. It’s good to get the leaders back in. I think that performance really showed having them back in training and back in the squad brings Donegal football to a different level.
"Michael is always pushing you. He is always looking to get the best out of everyone. Not that he's not always happy but he always can see that we need improvement. I think that's what drives everyone on. He's a real leader. If something isn't going right, he's guaranteed to be the man pointed out. If you are ever looking for anything, you are probably going to Michael and ask him and he's going to have the answer for you.
"You definitely want to do everything right. Not that he's an angry man or anything, he has that respect around everyone - even the management. Everyone respects him. He just wants to win everything. I think it's brushing off on the rest of us. Everyone wants to win and we're all taking it off him."
Above: In attendance at the 2019 Allianz Football League Finals preview is Stephen McMenamin of Donegal at Croke Park in Dublin. 2019 marks the 27th year of Allianz support of courage on the field of play through its sponsorship of the Allianz Football and Hurling Leagues. Mayo meet Kerry in this Sundays Division 1 decider at Croke Park (4pm), while Meath and Donegal will contest the Division 2 Final in Croke Park on Saturday (5pm), preceded by the Division 4 final meeting of Leitrim and Derry (3pm). Photos by Sportsfile