AS Hull City start a week that could go a long way towards defining their season, manager Steve Bruce has described the imminent return of Mohammed Diame as “a big lift for everyone”.
The Senegal international has been out since April with a recurrence of the knee injury that had needed surgery towards the end of last year.
Diame is likely to be on the bench tonight as Rochdale head to the KC Stadium to kick off a week that will climax with the closing of the transfer window on September 1.
For Bruce, the next seven days promise to be an anxious time due to the number of Premier League clubs currently coveting several of his squad.
Tom Huddlestone is on West Ham’s radar, while Watford have been linked with Ahmed Elmohamady and Bournemouth with Hull captain Michael Dawson.
The Tigers’ fear is that release fees will be triggered so late in the window that replacements will be hard to come by.
On his own recruitment plans, Bruce said: “We have a couple of irons in the fire and we will see what we can do.”
Diame is likely to be on the bench as Harry Maguire and Alex Bruce hope for a recall while Hull take the opportunity to rest a couple of players. Eldin Jakupovic, as with the last round at Accrington Stanley, will be in goal.
Bruce added: “We are hoping Mo can be back. If he did, that would be a big lift for everyone.”
Last six games: Hull City DWDDWL, Rochdale LWDWLD.
Referee: M Haywood (West Yorkshire).
Last time: Hull City 1 Rochdale 0; March 27, 2004; Division Three.