Injured Damien Mozika is something Scunthorpe United cannot afford
MIDFIELDER Damien Mozika will have to prove his fitness if he is to earn a new contract at Scunthorpe United.
The Frenchman's current deal expires in the summer, but long spells of his two years at Glanford Park have been spent on the sidelines.
Mozika is close to returning from his latest injury, a hamstring tear, while a long-term ankle problem has also restricted his Iron appearances.
Having someone of that quality who the club paid money for unavailable for selection is a 'luxury' United can't afford, according to boss Brian Laws.
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"We know Damien's strength is as a box to box player, who breaks things up," the manager told the Telegraph when asked about Mozika's comeback.
"He's a strong midfield player and aerially very strong, so he can only add to our game.
"If we can get him even playing half an hour or 20 minutes, he can help the team and support the team. If you're under the cosh sometimes, you can put him on.
"They're the benefits of him, but unfortunately, over the season, or two seasons, it's been minimal.
"He's never had that consistency and that's something we can't afford.
"That becomes a luxury and we haven't got the finances or the squad depth to have a luxury, so it's hurting us badly.
"We need him on the park, where he can help the club and the team."
Mozika had a scan last week on the hamstring he damaged in the goal-less draw with Shrewsbury Town in January.
It came back clear and he has since been able to step up his recovery, taking part in training and a practice game on Tuesday.
Although still some way short of full fitness, Laws hinted the former Bury player, who has made 12 appearances this term, could be among the substitutes for Saturday's home game with Coventry City.
"Damien has been training with us solidly for the last few days," he explained.
"He's certainly not to the level of first-team just yet, however it's just about match fitness now and about getting his fitness levels up because he's being pushed to the max.
"It may be one of those, as we've done before, where we say to him he's got to get his fitness from coming off the bench.
"That might be the case on Saturday.
"The scan came back clear and that then gave us the power to push him in that last 20 per cent of his training.
"At the moment we haven't gone to the point where he's sprinting or stretching the hamstring to its maximum.
"Now we are pushing that really hard.
"He's finding it hard because he hasn't been there for quite a while.
"Anybody with any quality you're going to miss.
"He's certainly got something we haven't got, so of course you're going to miss that."