Kim Butler is set to make her return to action for Great Britain’s women this weekend in Sheffield, providing an extra lift for an already buoyant team.

The Latvian League MVP has missed all of the side’s Olympic build-up to date while rehabbing an injury but has now been cleared ahead of this weekend’s Standard Life tournament at the Motorpoint Arena that pits the hosts against Angola, Australia and France.

“She’s back practicing now,” revealed GB coach Tom Maher. “She’s been doing well and she showed enough that we think she’ll play next weekend which is great.”

The Australian admits he’s been emboldened by the performances to date from Britain’s women this summer.

With last week’s trip to China cancelled, Maher’s side have had an unexpected three-week hiatus, dividing their time between Loughborough and Cardiff as the final stage of their preparations for London begin.

Last time out, a victory over 2010 world championship finalists, the Czech Republic, provided an emphatic statement.

Maher, an experienced hand, was still taken pleasantly by surprise.

“Our brand is coming along,” he said. “You’re projecting what you want to be and the game against the Czech Republic was a bobby dazzler in terms of us being the team we’d like to be.

“If you watched us against the Czechs in that second game, they’re a classy great team, with a lot of depth, but it wasn’t a fluke. They had their full team but we still took it to them.”

All three opponents in Sheffield are also bound for the Olympics with the French booking their places earlier this month via the qualifying tournament in Turkey.

It is, says Maher, a sign of how far GB have travelled that such opposition are lining up to test his squad.

“You have two superstar teams in France and Australia,” he said. “That’s unbelievable opposition for us. Five years ago, you couldn’t have imagined Great Britain playing them.

“But that’s a sign of progression. It’s not the Faroe Islands inviting GB any more, it’s good teams.”

Photo: BB/MAP

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