Matty Fryatt closing in on Hull City comeback
MATTY Fryatt is on course to provide Hull City's Championship promotion bid with a timely lift by resuming full training in the next 10 days ahead of an eagerly-awaited comeback next month.
The Tigers' worst fears over Sone Aluko's Achilles injury were confirmed yesterday as their leading goalscorer was ruled out for the rest of the season.
However, Aluko's loss may yet be offset by Fryatt's return from injury ahead of schedule next month.
Fryatt, who was initially expected to miss the run-in due to Achilles surgery of his own, is due back in training within the next fortnight.
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And providing there are no complications, it is hoped he will be fit to play a role in the final weeks of the campaign.
"We're looking at the next 10 days when we'll hopefully see him back in full training," said boss Steve Bruce, ahead of tomorrow's clash with Birmingham at the KC Stadium.
"He's done a lot of running and a lot of work in the gym. He's ahead of schedule and it's looking good, but we'll have to see how it goes.
"There's light at the end of the tunnel for him. It's a long dark road when you're working your socks off in rehabilitation every day. It's your worst nightmare as a footballer.
"But he's tough mentally and we hope he can come through the final stages now."
Seven months on the sidelines ensure Fryatt's recovery is still treated with caution by City's medical team and he will be monitored closely.
A return at reserve-team level will be his first target before a potential comeback in April for what would be his first league game in almost a year.
Bruce added: "When we break up for pre-season, we're usually off for around seven weeks. We then have six weeks to prepare them and another seven games. That shows what's required to get players up to speed.
"Matty is a naturally fit lad and that will help. I won't force him or rush him but it would be a big bonus if we could have him in and around the squad for the last month or so. One thing I will make sure of is that he's ready."
The cruel nature of the injury has been underlined by the loss of Aluko for up to six months.
The 24-year-old visited a specialist in London on Wednesday and while the extent of his problem remains unclear, surgery is unavoidable.
A full operation on the Achilles would rule him out until September, but even minor surgery has resigned Bruce to being without him for the run-in.
"It's important to say, whatever route we go down, I don't think we'll see him again this season, which is a tragedy for him and a tragedy for us," he said.
"It's one of these complicated Achilles injuries where there's a difference of opinion between two surgeons.
"One operation we'd be looking at eight weeks, if it's the other route it's six months."