HULL CITY are understood to be keeping a close eye on Portuguese left-back Ruben Ferreira as the injury crisis bites deeper at Yorkshire’s sole Premier League representative.
The Tigers yesterday confirmed that £17m duo, Nikica Jelavic and Abel Hernandez, will be out for between three and six weeks after limping out of Saturday’s defeat at West Bromwich Albion.
With Mohamed Diame, Andrew Robertson, Liam Rosenior, Robert Snodgrass, Sone Aluko and Gaston Ramirez all having missed the trip to The Hawthorns, Steve Bruce’s squad is being stretched to the limit.
Respite, of sorts, could come this weekend as Ramirez and Aluko may return for the trip to West Ham United.
Even so, Hull badly need a change of luck on the injury front as Bruce continues to monitor the transfer market.
Ruben, a 24-year-old who will be out of contract at Maritimo in the summer, has been on the club’s radar for some time.
However, attempts to watch the full-back live were frustrated by him being a late withdrawal through injury from a game in Madeira just before Christmas that was being attended by a member of the Tigers’ scouting team.
Confirmation that Jelavic and Hernandez are out for up to six weeks means Hull will also be scouring the market for a striker this month.
Jermain Defoe remains a target but Yaya Sanogo, the Arsenal striker, joined Crystal Palace on loan this week to end Hull’s interest.
Meanwhile, Hull will discover tomorrow the fee they will have to pay for Tom Ince.
The Tigers offered £2m in the summer but Blackpool have refused to budge on their valuation of £8m.
Ince spent the second half of last season on loan at Crystal Palace.
Discussions continued into this season, but with no agreement possible, the matter was referred to tribunal. Both clubs have now made their cases in writing to the independent panel, who will meet tomorrow.
Hull have already budgeted roughly for the tribunal’s valuation so whatever it decides is unlikely to impact on any plans to strengthen in the January transfer window.