Hull City confident Ahmed Elmohamady will return from Sunderland to boost promotion push
HULL City will not "give up" on welcoming Ahmed Elmohamady back to the KC Stadium this month, according to manager Steve Bruce.
Elmohamady's influential loan spell with the Tigers was unexpectedly cut short by parent club Sunderland this week to inflict a significant blow on preparations ahead of facing Peterborough this afternoon.
The 25-year-old has been instrumental in City's climb to second in the Championship this season, offering a relentless attacking presence from right wing-back.
With seemingly no future under Martin O'Neill at the Stadium of Light, Bruce admits the Egyptian's recall came as a surprise on Tuesday.
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Attempts to re-sign Elmohamady will hinge on Sunderland's ability to strengthen in the final fortnight of the transfer window, but the Tigers are confident of agreeing a return to East Yorkshire before the month is out.
"I said from the outset that we need to secure the loans that were here," said Bruce.
"We've done Robbie Brady and David Meyler and we're not going to give up on Elmohamady.
"We got a phone-call before the Leyton Orient game on Tuesday. If it had gone past that day (January 15) then he would have been ours until the end of the season.
"It came as a bit of a surprise but there you go. He's not someone we'll give up on, talks with Sunderland will be ongoing over the next 12 days."
Elmohamady's surprise recall has invited speculation over his long-term future.
National reports yesterday suggested Cardiff City were preparing a bid for the wide-man to complement their swoop for Fraizer Campbell, but rules forbidding players from representing three clubs in one season are enough to undermine such speculation.
City, meanwhile, appear cool to the idea of funding a permanent transfer this month.
"We'll do our utmost to bring him back but he's their player. He's got 18 months left on his contract but if there's something at all possible for another loan we'll try," Bruce said.
"I don't think there's any motives. Sunderland have a lack of numbers and they need cover.
"I spoke with Martin O'Neill on Thursday and he's hoping to get a few bodies in. If he can do that then it might free Elmo back up."
Elmohamady, who resumed training on Wearside on Thursday, has been included in Sunderland's squad that travels to Wigan today.
O'Neill intends to cast his eye over the player for the next week, but was not adverse to the prospect of Elmohamady rejoining the Tigers' promotion bid.
"Obviously, Elmohamady has enjoyed himself immensely at Hull and he's been playing regularly," said O'Neill yesterday.
"Of course, he'd love to be starting games here and that's something at the moment that I can't absolutely guarantee.
"But he's much fitter now as he's played so many games. He'll be in the squad and we'll have a look at him.
"We'll see what develops over the next couple of weeks and there's always the possibility of going back to Hull, even on an emergency loan after the transfer deadline has passed."
Life without Elmohamady, brief or otherwise, will begin when City head to Peterborough this afternoon.
Overnight snow was expected to threaten the fixture and officials at London Road appealed for volunteers to help clear the pitch from 9am this morning. Inspections inside and outside the ground are due to take place soon after.
"We knew on Thursday it had a chance of being on because they had the pitch covered," said Bruce, who led his side down to a Cambridgeshire base last night.
"It's been difficult for us to train but you have to deal with these things over winter. Unless there's a bucket-load of snow, we can only prepare for the game as normal."