Return of Hunt is perfect for Tigers

STEPHEN Hunt is set to boost Hull City's survival bid by returning to action in this weekend's crunch game with Burnley.

The Republic of Ireland international winger, a 3.5m signing last summer, has missed Hull's last five games with a foot injury.

Manager Iain Dowie said: "I'd love to see him back against Burnley and we are very hopeful that he will be fit. That will be a huge boost for everybody at the club."

With midfielder George Boateng likely to be missing as a result of the facial injury suffered last weekend against Stoke City, Dowie will recall Dean Marney or Seyi Olofinjana in the centre of midfield.

"We could change the shape but I think it will be a straight swap between either Olofinjana or Marney," said Dowie, whose side are one point adrift of safety in the Premier League relegation zone.

Although Tom Cairney is another midfield option, having played nine games under Phil Brown this season, Dowie has hinted that it may be too soon for the teenager who recently signed a new deal.

"He comes into contention but I've always felt he could do with a strong pre-season to get in top shape," he said.

"He will be a top player in years to come."

Dowie was also given food for thought by the performances of Brazilian midfielder Geovanni and American striker Jozey Altidore as substitutes in the game at the Britannia Stadium.

"A couple of players came on against Stoke and did some good things," he said. "But it's also about who is bright and sharp in training this week."