Sone Aluko on course to boost Hull City with early return
HULL City are hopeful Sone Aluko could return from injury ahead of schedule and be back in action for Steve Bruce's promotion-chasing side before the end of the month.
Aluko has been sidelined since the Tigers' 3-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday last month after scans revealed a small tear in his Achilles.
Initial outlooks suggested the 23-year-old would be absent for between six and eight weeks, ruling him out until March, but City's medical staff have been encouraged by the striker's recent progress.
Although there is no chance of featuring in games against Brighton, Derby and Charlton in the next 10 days, there is optimism Aluko could be back for either the home game with Blackburn on February 19 or the trip to Bolton four days later.
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A protective boot was removed this week to indicate Aluko's rehabilitation is clear to gather pace and light training outdoors will follow over the next week.
City will be loathe to rush Aluko back prematurely, but the wait to see the club's top goalscorer back in action will be shorter than first envisaged.
Aluko's return will come as a timely boost for Bruce as he looks to navigate a course through a busy February. A 1-0 win at Millwall last weekend provided the perfect start to a pivotal month, but a further 15 points will be up for grabs over the next 17 days.
While Aluko's absence during December was barely felt with a run of four consecutive wins, his guile would be a welcome addition to any attacking line in the Championship. Even with just four starts in City's last 13 league and cup games, the Nigerian remains the club's top scorer with eight goals.
The arrival of Egypt international Gedo today will give Bruce's attack another dimension heading to Brighton on Saturday, but a first start for either him or Ahmed Fathi appears highly unlikely.