Hull City manager Steve Bruce is weighing up whether to hand Nikica Jelavic a spot in his starting XI in Saturday’s crucial Premier League clash with Burnley.
The Croatia striker has been hampered by knee problems and was expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery in March.
But Jelavic came on as a late substitute in Monday’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal and Bruce has not ruled out him lining up from the start as Hull look to ensure their Premier League status.
Bruce said: “[Jelavic] has trained for the last 10, 11 days – he’s a goalscorer, in this level you obviously need to score goals. It’s good that he’s in the equation. I’ve got to make the right decision.
“If Jelavic had stayed fit, I don’t think we’d be in the problem that we’re in. That’s how important he is. We’ve found it really difficult to cope without him. It’s such a big important part.”
The news is not as good for midfielder Mohamed Diame, who is set to undergo knee surgery next week and will not feature in the final three games of the campaign.
Hull are one point above the bottom three having won two of the last three games and could take a huge step towards safety with victory.
But Bruce added: “We’ve just struggled to predict the election, so how can we predict this [the relegation battle]. It’s been so up and down. [There is] Still a lot to play for, it looks like it’s going to go down to the wire.
“Two weeks ago Aston Villa and Newcastle weren’t really in it, but now they’re right in amongst it.
“We might need a couple of results. Would four be points enough? I think you would be very unlucky if you went down with 38 [points].”
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